A Charlotte, NC news station warns clients about the dangers of screening. An escort service was busted a few weeks ago and police have been unraveling their records (and reporters have been writing breathless articles over the investigation).
This particular article focuses on the client records the agency kept. It seems the police feel it’s incriminating to clients and, of course, feel that clients submitting personal information isn’t in the clients’ best interests.
I have a real problem with this entire article.
If the police want to offer escort agencies tips on running their agencies, perhaps they should stop trying to arrest everyone involved. That would be a great start and I think everyone: agencies, escorts, clients — would be happier that way.
The police involved in this case are either stupid or playing dumb. Escorts require screening information to 1) make sure their client isn’t a cop and 2) for their own safety since the law doesn’t protect them in any way. Having a client’s real and personal information is the only safeguard escorts have against something bad happening. And if something does go wrong, the client can be arrested (hopefully). (Screening does not stop violence or theft, but it lessens the number of incidents.)
Printing propaganda like this just gives clients more ammunition in refusing to give screening info. Escorts have enough difficulties in getting screening information for their own safety. Having the police threaten clients doesn’t do anything to stop men from seeing escorts, it only make the job riskier for escorts. The client risk — which is always low — is even lower if they refuse to give screening information. The risk to escorts rises exponentially every time a client is allowed to see an escort without giving screening information.
Frankly, it doesn’t help clients either. If more escorts stop screening (because of client demand), more escorts are going to get arrested. Clients are far more at risk from an arrested escort than they are from one who diligently screens. (Arrested escorts often go back to work and may be supplying information or under surveillance.)
So I’m wondering if the police have decided to make life easier for themselves by trying to scare clients into demanding less screening, therefore making it easier to arrest escorts. If this is their goal, it’s not well thought-out. Escorts will be the ones to suffer from this idea; just as they’re already more often arrested than clients. And often brutalized by police.
Although this article tries to be fair, it basically sees clients as people with certain rights (even though they’re breaking the law as much as escorts are — if escorts are indeed breaking the law). Escorts and the agency in question seem to have no rights — perhaps because they’re not quite the same as “regular” people? This attitude also leads to major problems with escorts. Yesterday was the 5th Annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. A large part of this violence happens because sex workers are not seen as human beings.
Encouraging clients to refuse screening does not stop sexual exploitation or help escorts. As long as escort work remains criminalized, the only protection escorts have is in gathering client information and background checking. Remove that slim margin of protection…the cops are going to have a lot more to do than merely arrest agency owners and investigate their books.