Escort agencies claim that they are dispatching these individuals to provide a social or conversational service rather than a sexual service, since prostitution laws often forbid taking payment for sex or communicating for the purpose of arranging a contract for sexual services.
Advertisements for escort agencies often carefully skirt the legal line, and avoid specifically offering prostitution or sexual services.
Some agencies also provide escorts for longer durations, who may stay with the client or travel along on a holiday or business trip.
While the escort agency is paid a fee for this booking and dispatch service, the customer must negotiate any additional fees or arrangements directly with the escort for any other services that are not provided by the agency involved, such as providing sexual services (regardless of the legality of these services).
Escort prostitution is one of the forms that the sex trade takes in the United Kingdom, along with prostitution practiced in massage parlors, saunas, private flats (such as the Soho walk-ups) and street prostitution.
Working as an outcall escort is not an offence, and neither is working as a prostitute in private.
This has been criticized as hypocrisy, especially where governments license and tax the escort agencies.However, there almost certainly do exist agencies that do go by these laws and do not facilitate prostitution.Some countries have used a two-pronged approach of criminalizing street prostitution but permitting or licensing prostitution in brothels or via escort agencies.The agency will then suggest an escort who might fit that client's need.The agency collects the client's contact information and calls the escort.
The legislature in Mexico has modified the law to close some loopholes or grey areas and are, like the United States, zooming in on the "end user" or client.