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How to Start an Escort Business Legally

May 28, 2024
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The escort industry is thriving like never before, offering direct and hassle-free companionship services for clients across the globe.

For those who know how to navigate it, it’s an industry ripe with potential. However, many entrepreneurs are deterred by the complexities that come with the legalities and regulations surrounding this business.

At Adult Creative, we’re here to guide you through this legal landscape and help you set up your escort business for success. In this blog, we’ll explore the legal aspects you need to consider when starting an escort business, ensuring that you do so legally and responsibly.


  1. Is Escorting Legal?
  2. Understanding the Legalities of Running an Escort Agency
  3. What Legal Documents Do I Need to Run an Escort Business?
  4. How to Stay within the Law as an Escort Agency
  5. Start Your Journey to Success with Adult Creative

Is Escorting Legal?

Before setting up your agency, your first step is to familiarise yourself with the local laws concerning escort businesses.

The legal status of sex work varies worldwide. In places like the Netherlands and parts of Australia, prostitution is legal and regulated, influencing public perception and the operational dynamics of escort businesses.

Escort services face less stigma in these areas and enjoy a degree of openness, but must adhere to strict health and regulatory standards.

Where is Prostitution Legal in the US?

In the United States, sex work is illegal in every state but one. So then, in what state is prostitution legal? Well, the legality of prostitution is restricted to certain areas of Nevada, under heavy regulation.

Escorting, however, differs as it focuses on companionship and time spent together, rather than direct sexual exchanges. Because of this distinction, escort services are legal in the US if the services offered involve companionship, such as dinner dates, cultural events, or guided tours.

The transaction must clearly revolve around time rather than specific acts, because explicitly exchanging money for sexual services no doubt crosses into illegal territory.

Is Prostitution Legal in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, however, the exchange of sexual services for money is legal, apart from in Northern Ireland. As for soliciting, pimping, and advertising sexual services (especially in public), these activities are illegal under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

So, as you can see, providing an escort service is legal in the UK. However, it’s important to note that if your agency premises are used to provide sexual services, they may be considered a brothel. Are brothels legal in the UK and US? Definitely not (except in Nevada). That’s why it’s crucial for your escort agency to function strictly as a venue for companionship to avoid legal penalties.

Understanding the Legalities of Running an Escort Agency

In both the US and the UK, there’s no federal law explicitly addressing escort services, which leaves the boundary between escorting and prostitution a little unclear. Offering companionship is legal, but exchanging money for sexual acts is not.

So, how do you ensure your business stays on the right side of the law?

Consult a Legal Expert

It’s crucial to seek advice from a legal professional specialising in adult entertainment or business law in your area.

A legal expert can offer tailored guidance based on your location and specific circumstances, ensuring that your business operates legally and ethically. They can help you draft contracts, understand local ordinances, and provide ongoing advice as laws change.

Stay Informed About Local Regulations

Laws concerning escort services vary significantly from one region to another. For instance, while paying for sex might be legal in the UK, the same cannot be said for Northern Ireland. As for the USA, it’s illegal in all states except certain parts of Nevada, where it’s strictly regulated.

Regularly checking local regulations and staying up-to-date with legal changes is vital for your agency if you wish to avoid unintended violations. With the help of legal experts, you can confidently navigate the evolving laws and maintain compliance.


Depending on where you’re setting up shop, obtaining the necessary permits and licenses from local authorities is an essential step in setting up an escort agency.

This often includes passing a background check to ensure your escorts are of age, and that you have no connections to illegal activities.

While you don’t need a license to run an escort agency in the UK, it’s still vital to comply with all relevant laws and regulations. In places like California, however, a license is required for an escort to operate legally, and securing the appropriate licensing will protect your business from potential legal issues.


How you market your services and those offered by your escorts can significantly impact your business’s legality.

In many places across the globe, explicitly advertising sexual services is illegal, so how exactly do you go about doing it?

Well, if you take a look at platforms like Dior, you’ll see that escorts highlight their time for companionship rather than sexual services. Instead of advertising specific offerings, they often list their likes and dislikes. By focusing on companionship and experiences, you can avoid legal pitfalls and maintain compliance.

What Legal Documents Do I Need to Run an Escort Business?

When setting up an escort business, it’s crucial to have the right legal documents in place to protect both you and your business.

Website Terms of Use

If you’re operating an escort agency online, it’s important to have website terms of use that define acceptable and unacceptable uses of your site.

Additionally, you should clearly state that visitors must be at least 18 years old.

Contractor’s Agreement

When an escort provides services to your clients and you agree to pay a fee, this arrangement is typically governed by an independent contractor agreement.

It’s wise to have this document prepared by a lawyer to cover crucial aspects like regular health checks and the use of protection.

Employment Agreement

As the owner of an escort agency, it’s vital to have an employment agreement between you and your escorts.

This agreement should outline the rights and obligations of both parties, as well as the procedures for terminating the employment relationship. Clear policies and procedures help prevent disputes.

Client Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions between your business and your clients form a binding agreement, provided the clients have an opportunity to review them before using your services.

For agencies with a website, it’s helpful to include a box that clients can scroll through and check to indicate, “I have read and accept these terms and conditions.”

How to Stay within the Law as an Escort Agency

Register Your Escort Agency

If you have already settled on a name for your company, you will need to register it before someone else can. It’s important to note that you will probably want to use the same name for your company’s real name, business trading name, trademark, and domain name.

Whether you’re registering everything at once or proceeding step by step, we advise you to discuss strategy with your legal counsel.

Pay Your Taxes

Like all legitimate businesses, you will have to pay tax…. and like all self-employed workers, so too do your escorts.

All Escorts Must Be Over 18

While it may be legal to be an escort, all escorts must be over 18. If an escort applies to your agency and you suspect they are underage, it’s reasonable to ask for ID, such as a passport or driving license.

The legal and ethical implications of having an underage escort are severe, as providing such an introduction could lead to criminal charges.

Prepare for Regular Legal Check-Ups

Regularly review your business practices with legal counsel to ensure compliance with new and existing laws. This approach helps identify potential issues before they escalate.

Escorts Should Be Paid Directly by the Customer

If the agency takes payment first and then pays the escort, it can be seen as controlling prostitution.

Remember, your agency acts more as an introduction service, in which a referral fee is collected from the escorts you represent and promote. The escort should take payment directly, and the agency should then collect the referral fee later.

Maintain Clear Contracts and Service Descriptions

Clearly outline what your services include and exclude to avoid misinterpretations.

Ensuring that your services and boundaries are understood by clients beforehand helps prevent misunderstandings and potential legal issues.

It’s a Booking Service… Not a Sexual Service

An escort agency functions as a booking service that facilitates introductions. Clients book escorts for time and companionship, and anything beyond that is between two consenting adults.

Escorts working for your agency should be independent, setting their own hours and having the right to accept or turn down bookings.

Escorts Decide When They Work for Your Agency

As we previously stated, escorts working for an agency are independent contractors.

They should determine when they work, rather than having set hours dictated by the agency. Otherwise, they could be considered employees, leading to potential legal issues related to controlling prostitution.

Only Work with Escorts Who Have Work Visas in the UK

Whilst being an escort is legal in the UK, they must have a work visa if they are from outside the European Union.

If an escort applies to your agency and is from outside the EU, ensure they have a valid work visa. Providing work for escorts without viasas can lead to serious charges, including human trafficking, which can result in imprisonment.

Escorts Should Arrange Their Accommodation

Providing accommodation for escorts can be considered controlling prostitution.

Running escort flats can lead to brothel-keeping charges if the premises are owned or rented by someone who profits from their work. Escorts should arrange their own accommodation, and if they need assistance, ensure you don’t pay the rent or mortgage.

Your Journey to Success Starts Today with Adult Creative

With hundreds of agencies operating successfully for over a decade, it’s clear that trouble only arises when the lines between legality and illegality are blurred. The US and UK’s laws have evolved, making it legal to run an escort agency, provided that you follow key guidelines and avoid unlawful activities.

Here at Adult Creative, we understand the unique challenges within the adult industry, and we’re passionate about helping businesses like yours thrive. Listed below are just some of our services that you and your agency can tap into:

Be sure to browse our selection of stunning website templates – all built in-house by our talented designers and developers. Find yours today and we’ll have your new design launched within just 7 days.

Let us be your partner on the journey to page 1 rankings and increased website traffic. Get in contact with Adult Creative and start your journey to success today!

Still not sure what kind of adult business you want to set up? Be sure to check out our blog on the Top 5 Adult Business Ideas to learn more.

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