How to Avoid Legal Hassles as an Escort Agency
Operating an escort agency is riskier than other legitimate businesses. The law often clubs the escort business with the prostitution business. This leads to many of the laws being similar for both kinds of work. This is also because in reality, most escorts engage in sex with their clients for monetary gains. Avoiding legal hassles in the escort industry is all about omitting all sexual clauses from your marketing and any conversations.
Here are a few points that summarize how you should present your business if you want to stay on the right side of the law:
- Your escort agency sells services in the form of companionship with escorts for a given period of time.
- Other activities that take place in that period are solely a result of agreement between two consenting adults, the client and the escort.
- All escorts listed on your agency are independent and choose their own working hours.
- Don't provide rebnted accommodation or a driver for escorts as this can be seen as controlling prostitution.
- Escorts are free to decline bookings if they so wish to do so.
- Money exchanges happen between the escort and the client and the agency will collect a nominal booking fee otherwie known as commission.
- The payment an agency receives is strictly for advertising and marketing services as a booking agency service.
If you understand these statements, you are largely staying within the confinements of the law.
Proof of Identification
An escort can freely work in the UK as long as she is over the age of 18. If an escort applies to work for an agency and looks very young the agency should always insist on receving a scanned copy of her passport of driving licence. You do need to do your due diligence here as promoting an under age escort is a serious offence and can lead to prosecution for trafficking a minor.
Proof if identity is also required if the escort in question is from outside the European Union. Thanks to EU laws, anyone in the EU can travel and work freely throughout it's member countries. Anyone outside the EU needs to have a work permit in order to work as an escort in the UK. If an agency has escorts without a work permit, technically this also falls under the trafficking laws.
In short, don't be caught out in these two areas as they can pose the most serious offences the UK escort laws posess.
Register with HMRC
Any person or company operating in the UK needs to register as a business. This can either be as self employed, a sole trader, partnership or limited company depending on what suits the agency setup. If the escort agency intends to employ others such as a receptionist then it's best practice to register as a limited company. You will find more information regarding the different types of businesses on the HMRC website.
Like any ligitimate business you need to pay your taxes. Any money you make in the UK is taxable and must be declared to the tax man. As we all know this is a very cash driven industry but don't let this sway you from running an agency as legitimately as possible. Due to it being a cash industry you may think you can keep all the cash a secret from the tax man. This is all well and good, but, god forbid you find your agency being prosecuted for something the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) will then hand you over to Inland Revenue.
So what's so scary about Inland Revenue? Are you sitting down? If you have been convicted of an offence you are now a criminal. In the eyes of the law your word means nothing, fact. CPS will now hand you over to Inland Revenue to prosecute you for tax evasion. At this point you declare a sum of money you have made so far as an escort agency owner. They will not care what you say and here is their calculation to work out how much money you have made.
Below is an example:
The agency has been running for 2 years (730 days). You have 10 escorts working on your escort agency website. They work 7 hour days and charge £150 per hour in which you receive £50 per hour.
730 days X 10 escorts X 7 hours X 50 pounds = £2,555,000. They can say that's how much your company made and they will want the tax due on this sum of money. It's not feesable that every escort in your agency will be in a booking every hour but that does not matter at this stage because you have already broken the law and you have no credability what so ever. You may not be able to pay this tax bill, they will sell off all your assets and leave you with a big debt hanging over your head making it difficult to ever run another business without them dipping their hands in the cookie jar.
The example above is very scary and we have seen this happen as the government hates tax avasion. The way to avoid this is to be straight, be a registered company and pay your taxes. That way if you do find yourself in trouble with the law, tax avasion will not be one of them.
Businesses in Bigger Cities
Bigger cities have an influx of escort agencies and the majority of these agencies work and operate within the law. The general opinion is that escorts and escort agencies are more excepted and receive less attention. After all, there are hundreds of agencies and thousands of escorts operating in larger towns. It's impossible to shut them all down so instead they concetrate their efforts on the ones who don't follow the rules.
Stringent laws for escort agencies exist mainly to protect women and underage girls from forced involvement in the prostitution business. As an escort agency avoid any business with girls under the age of 18 years, because this squarely puts you in the crosshairs with the law.
Actually, you can go one step further and explicitly state on your website disclaimer that you do not work with anybody under 18 years of age. Also, state that you don’t entertain clients under the age of 18 years. The escorts on your website are purely for time and companionship only and anything that happens between two consenting adults is at their discretion.
Read the law
If you want to avoid legal hassles for your escort agency at all costs, the best thing you can do is to actually read the law carefully. It is your business after all, and knowing about the law will only help your protect your agency better. If you can't understand the laws, hire legal counsel to help you understand the terms involved.
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