Coversations with an escort
Coversations with an escort

Conversations with an Independent Escort Part 1

This month Deviance takes a closer look at some of the people in the sex industry. In part one we talk to Laura Lee, an independent escort working in Glasgow. She describes herself as a ‘happy hooker’
Feature by Ana Hine.
Published 02 March 2012

First can you just explain what 'escort buddies' is?

It’s a scheme set up by a friend of mine down south and basically what it aims to do is match up new ladies that come into the industry with more experienced ladies so that we can share experience with them, give them some dos and don’ts and also share with them lists of known time-wasters, idiot clients. 

Unfortunately there are guys who search the net looking for new girls and they will try to push boundaries. In an 'oh, all the girls do this they just don’t advertise it' sort of way. So it’s really to safeguard them against that, and to advise them as well so that they know what they’re up against. The stigma, the social isolation, the lies, the secrecy.

If I personally take a newbie under my wing I don’t spare any blushes, I let them have it, the reality of it.

So you have a lot of responsibility for a newcomer?

I guess you do. In the first instance you want to make sure the lady really knows what she’s getting herself into and the ramifications that decision has. That sounds very negative, and it’s not meant to. [Escorting] can be a fabulous career for the right lady. Certainly, I love it. I wouldn’t comprehend working for anybody else now. Working for myself is just what I love doing, but you need to go into it with your eyes open. So I do feel responsible for anyone I take on, yes definitely.

Are there things that you are happy you didn’t know when you first got into sex work?

I guess I’m grateful I wasn’t really aware of the seedy underbelly that exists. There is a large group of men, I suppose, who really don’t respect women, and they’re all about pushing boundaries, trying to get away with things that ordinarily they wouldn’t do. You hear about these guys every so often, a warning will go up on the various [internet forums]. So yes, I was a bit doe-eyed, but I was very lucky way back then I had two older ladies who took me under their wing.

The first time somebody asked for, um, watersports I thought we were going yachting for the day [watersports being sex acts involving urine, golden showers etc] and the women who were looking after me nearly peed themselves laughing.

What kind of advice do you give to newcomers?

First and foremost it’s a cutthroat industry. It’s very bitchy so choose your buddies carefully and don’t give away too much about yourself and your real life. Sort yourself out for tax, it’s important to give the tax man something. Cover yourself in the event that the unspeakable happens and the press do get a hold of you.

You also need to establish what sector of the market you want to appeal to. From that you would also decide what services you want to offer, your pricing structure, your advertising and where’s best to do that, and then obviously your sexual health practices as well.

Some of the advertising websites do more than others to protect the people who use their sites when offering commercial sex. Do you think there is proper protection online?

I’m not sure that protect is the right word, but certainly the ethos of many of the major sites is very much pro-sex worker, so it comes down very hard on things like trafficking and under-age girls. If we get one whiff of that the person is then reported to Crimestoppers.

Other sites seem to allow women to advertise things like barebacking, which is not really in their best interest. To me it’s slow suicide really. Russian roulette. So they have a less caring attitude maybe.

How does the current legislation – that sex work is legal, but working in a group is not – affect you? Does it make it more difficult to create a network of support?

You can always have a network of support. If there’s two ladies together in a premises then it’s deemed to be a brothel and that’s illegal. So in terms of touring together how you get around that is simply to have a hotel room next to your buddy and then if anything were to kick off she’ll be there. It does make it difficult, what they are effectively doing is leaving women as sitting ducks for the various psychopaths that are out there. For instance if you look at the Ipswich murders, they should never have happened. It’s that simple. The state had blood on its hands there.

I can’t fathom why they would say that it’s okay for one woman but not okay for two. After all we’re not talking about a big, all singing, Nevada style ranch here, we’re talking about a private apartment with two women in it.

And surely it’s not as bad as having students living beside you…

They’re actually worse. They party till like two, three in the morning. It’s like ‘shut up, I have a booking at 9am’. That’s where the whole stigma thing comes in.

When I got outed in the last town I lived in the neighbours were all like, ‘oh, but she seemed such a nice girl.’ Hello, I am a nice girl. Just because this is my job doesn’t change who I am. It’s the tag that’s given to us, automatically people look down their nose at you.

I don’t know what needs to change first. Does the legislation need to change or the attitudes towards us in society?

Are there parallels between this situation and that of the stigma surrounding homosexuality?

They’re both minority groups, sex workers and gay people, but gay people’s rights have come on so much since, say, the 1950s. They can get married now, they can adopt children, they have nearly all the same rights as heterosexual people. And so it should be.

When I was growing up the stigma around gay men was so strong that they were automatically assumed to be paedophiles. They were this group of horrid individuals that were to be shunted away into a corner and never discussed. That’s all changed.

Why has it taken so long for the laws around sex work to catch up?

I just don’t know why we haven’t caught up in our attitudes towards sex workers. It is improving, but it’s painfully slow. We need more people, like myself, to stand up and let people know that we’re normal. Honestly. I burn toast and stuff too.

There’s a mystery surrounding sex work and that is caused by the fact that it’s all so damn clandestine. People are afraid of press or family, neighbours finding out.

Will we ever have a Whore Pride March in London? I don’t know. I hope so.

What about Slutwalk?

Yeah. It was a missed opportunity. There was a snobbery around that which I found rather comical. I hang around lots of forums where ladies only, escorts, post and some of them were saying, ‘I don’t consider myself a slut, I’m not going on that.’ I thought 'For fuck sake!'

There’s an elitism in the industry where some girls at my level (urgh, even that sounds snobby), will look down their nose at parlour girls, who in turn will look down on street workers.

From my point of view, and certainly from the IUSW’s point of view [the International Union of Sex Workers] we’re all sex workers, end of. We all do the same job. You might do it in your boot and heels, or round the back of ASDA, doesn’t matter.

You get the anti-s and the abolitionists bandying around aged reports, usually on street workers, to say that oh 70, 80% of them are the result of some abusive or traumatic experience. It’s all rubbish. 

I’ve worked in this industry on and off for sixteen years and met a lot of different people from various different levels of the industry and some of the strongest women I’ve met have been sex workers. Some of the most together people.

No-one is saying it doesn’t happen, of course it does, but it is very much in the minority.

What I was quite shocked about was how many of the government reports on prostitution had been funded by groups with an ideological stance against it. Groups who considered all prostitution to be exploitation, as a foundational belief. How can that bring up objective data?

Well exactly. I think the key to moving forward is to open the channels of communication between the police and ourselves, so that we don’t need to live in fear of having it on our record for the rest of our lives that we’re a known sex worker.

That’s currently happening in some sectors of Scotland. Say I go to a flat tomorrow and I’m really unhappy with what I see there, maybe a couple of eastern European women who don’t look… right. I should be able to go to the police and say ‘you need to look into this’ rather than trying to stay under the radar. They’re shooting themselves in the foot by creating a rift between us and them.

Comments (6)

Add a comment »
  • Wow! What an amazing and articulate article... thank you! I am an Escort and have been for some considerable time. I was not trafficked or coerced, I was never abused as a child, and I consider myself a well educated, confident, independent woman. I know the seedy stuff is out there, I'm not naive, the under age girls, the trafficked girls (not all foreign girls are trafficked for heavens sake!) but I have never encountered it and I don't remember anyone inside the industry telling me that they had either. So I really can't understand why people still go on about it as though it were the norm. Yes it happens, I'm sure, but I'm positive that it really is the exception these days.

    And as for the safety aspect, yes, totally agree. I can well understand that people do not want to live next door to a brothel with men coming and going at all times of the day and night, but to make the law so restrictive that a girl is forced to expose herself to danger because she has to work alone is, surely, insanity? If it were legal to do so then I would definitely work with another girl. I am quiet and discreet and I do not want to cause a problem for or have a problem with my neighbours, and if there were two of us working together I would feel the same way. But no, I have to work alone.

    Most clients are absolutely lovely... really nice "ordinary" men. Mostly middle aged, mostly middle classed, mostly middle income. BUT - I am only too aware that the next guy who comes through that door could be the one. I'm sure those Ipswich girls were no different to me. I am exposed because I am alone... just like they were.

    Posted by Trinity Belle | Friday 02 March 2012 @ 19:51

    Report to moderator
  • Very good article and the state does have blood on it's hands regarding the horrific attacks of sex workers, both male and female. More laws must be brought in to protect people who work in this industry. It can bring in a lot of money to the economy as well as taking money away from organised crime. No guys ever admit to hiring sex workers but there are over 1000 people working between Glasgow and Edinburgh at least.. Thanks to the skinny and the contributor for publishing this..

    Posted by jim | Saturday 17 March 2012 @ 19:39

    Report to moderator
  • Why was my comment removed ? I have worked in health care for many years made some valid points which were backing up what the woman being interviewed was saying regarding health and safety issues and the insanity of the legal system regarding the sex industry at present.

    Posted by jim | Saturday 17 March 2012 @ 23:26

    Report to moderator
  • I do believe that there are women like laura lee and trinity belle who enter prostitution as an informed choice, not through lack of options, and are not unhappy with the life they lead. I believe this as I believe there are all types of people in this world with all types of different interests attitudes and resilliences. I do also believe however that a large number of women all over the world are harmed beyond comparison in prostitution. Harmed physically and psychologically regardless of whether they were trafficked or chose prostitution. Policy should be built for the vulnerable majority and i feel that the rights of these women, and all women, to be free from the harms of sexual violence effectively trump the rights of women like laura lee to choice of occupation. The only way to start tackling trafficking and violence against women is to challenge the demand. How can we protect the women harmed in prostitution and trafficking when there is legal prostitution saying it is ok to see a woman as solely there for your pleasure? How can we tackle things like domestic violence, child abuse and sexism when we are still encouraging men to think that they are entitled to access to sex and entitled to do what they want if the price is right? Prostitution has to end.

    Posted by Laura | Monday 26 March 2012 @ 04:04

    Reported to moderator
  • Good on you! Nice to see an intelligent and honest article on escorting that is not full of scaremongering. My experience has been much the same and it's refereshing to read that you are doing this sensibly and of your own volition etc. R x

    Posted by Rebecca x | Wednesday 16 May 2012 @ 14:01

    Reported to moderator
  • My beauty queen t-girl I am in love with and dated last week has not contacted me for two whole days. To distract myself from my slowly breaking heart I have been chatting to another transgender girl on-line who is an air hostess.

    <a href=""> Birmingham escort agencies </a>

    Posted by escort15456 | Friday 12 April 2013 @ 09:21

    Report to moderator
Leave a comment on this article