A Brief History And Transformation of Escort Services
Changing times, changing lifestyle and adoption of a more liberal outlook towards every aspect of life by the society as a whole has resulted in many further changes. One of them is the way we view sexuality and any topic related to sex.
From being a primarily patriarchy based society, we have moved into a much balanced social structure. This was well reflected in one of the least talked about sectors which have been operating and growing for long.
The escorts market is one those segments that received least mainstream attention and yet has been one of the major growing sectors across the world.
This segment saw a number of major changes over the years, which is probably the most honest reflection of the society we are living in.
The Evolution of Escort Services
As already mentioned, the escorts service industry witnessed major changes over the decades, along with the change in the social structure. One of the noticeable shifts was in the evolution of the services provided over the years.
Historically speaking, escorts service is one of the oldest businesses to have sustained over centuries. Information from the Greek era shows that escort service was much popular even at that time and was mainly in the form of prostitution.
However, it included both the male and female escorts. The female escorts had more demand and hence, more power and influence in the social structure.
With changing era and change of the job market, as unemployment grew, more among the youths were forced into the profession of being an escort. Due to the changing gender ratio and gender roles, the demand for female escorts grew over time leading to a reduction in the number of male escorts.
As the society started skewing towards being primarily male-dominated, escort service became more focused towards the female escorts only.
In 1960s, the escort services officially came into the adult market. Back then, it was known as “Dating Services”, or, “Date Services”. The agencies used to provide companions to men clients for dinners, wedding events, and other events where men wanted beautiful girls alongside them. Though, these services did not include sexual services, the demand grew and so did the area of services.
It is still debatable that who was responsible for introducing the sexual services in the dating business. Did the agency owners force the girls to provide sexual services in order to reap greater benefits? Or, did the escorts themselves want to earn more and hence, decided to jump to an extra mile?
A large number of female joined this profession, mostly due to desperation, and some with the aim to make it big in the glamour world, and led to further development of this business sector.
The recent time has changed the escort service industry to even larger extent.
What once was a highly risky and potentially dangerous industry for the females, has transformed to ensure better protection of their rights.
Along with that, the number of male escorts has also increased over the years. A more understanding social structure that gives greater importance to the needs of the women in the society, has accepted the sexual needs of the women as well. The increase in the number of male escorts is clear proof of this change.
Escort service has not just undergone change in terms of gender roles. Today escorts are not always meant for the purpose of prostitution. High profile official events are also hiring escorts for taking better care of the guests and to provide respectable services to those invited.
Popular Ethnicities in The Escort Service Industry
The escort service industry isn’t quite free from all types of racism. Over the years of its operation, it is quite clear that there are some ethnicities that are preferred by the majority of the clients as compared to others.
However, this trend tends to shift with the shifting of the market of operation. There are also multiple factors that contribute to the preference of the clients. Looking at the popular ethnicities in the escorts service market merely in terms of choice of color, hence, will be quite erroneous.
The rise of the escorts service market was primarily driven by both the sexual and emotional needs of the clients. Hence, while the skin color and outer beauty might seem like the major determinants, these are, in reality, not the sustainable growth factors.
Then again, beauty is also a subjective term and varies from one person to another. The main alluring factors, as has been found over the years, is the ability of the escort to satisfy the emotional and sexual needs of the person.
Although it might seem unlikely, the intelligence of the escort plays an important role as well. It is the human nature that seeks adventure even while opting for an escort service.
The Toronto escorts market has seen a sharp ethnic divide for quite a different reason. While the major escort services generally hired fair skinned escorts, the dark-skinned ones were forced to the streets to work majorly as prostitutes.
These dark-skinned women were also subject to a much higher number of police harassments since they were considered as the vulnerable and easy targets by the law enforcement service providers.
Speaking about the popularity of the escorts in terms of ethnicity, it has been found that in people in Toronto have special preferences for the White-Asian women.
Though, it is also reported that the Scandinavian women, in general, have a much higher sex drive.
Escort service is one segment where ethnicity is present but cannot be considered as the predominant factor, majorly because the demands and expectations of the clients vary and are not confined to one particular type. The ethnic choice is more a result of marketing than personal preference.
Advertisement of Escort Services
Much like any other business, even escort services need advertising. It is one of the primary means of reaching out to clients. And, similar to any other industry, the mode of advertisement changed with time.
During the days when digital media was not present or not even prevalent, the advertisement for escort services and other allied services were carried out via various print media outlets.
While some advertisements clearly stated the purpose and intent, most of them were disguised as various types of services that left generous clue so as to be identified as sex service providers.
The mode of advertisement changed drastically in the past decade with the rapid growth of the Internet and the availability of a wide array of devices that allowed ease of access to the internet as well as privacy and security.
The result was the development of a number of websites that provide direct access to the escort service providers, be it some kind of broker or individuals consenting to provide escort services.
The Internet made it easier for the escorts to get business and regular clients. It also made it easier for anyone and everyone to get in touch with escorts without completely revealing the identity and maintaining the secrecy.
A simple Google search of “Toronto escort agencies” will show you 600,000+ results:
The websites made another major change. The number of cases of exploitation reduced since these websites generally offered the option to the escorts to get payment assurance before providing the service.
Not to mention, the escorts found a much cheaper and reliable means of advertisement with the help of these websites.
The Closure of Backpage
Escort services and paid sex has been looked down upon by the society at large and the authorities for decades. Even though people from all walks of life enjoy the service, the general consensus is that escort services are not suitable for the society.
Even then, it came as a shock when Backpage, the largest virtual market for sex workers and escort service providers, was recently seized by the American Federal Department.
The reason stated was to reduce sex trafficking and use of minors in the business. While the intent remains noble, the effectiveness is questionable.
Backpage was targeted mainly because a large number of trafficked children were reported to be seen on the website listed as escort service providers.
This prompted the authorities to deduce that the website and others like them are facilitating sex trade, and led to the seizure and closure of the website.
Counterarguments by many social workers, psychiatrists, and even sex workers suggest that this might not have been the best step forward.
Firstly, the children who were rescued were reported mainly because of the fact that the website had a major global presence and was accessible to the public. Also, this generalized treatment meted towards the traffickers and consensual escort service providers has not been taken well.
For many, this is the only means of income and is a life an death situation. The sex traffickers will anyway find other shadowy means to operate their business, making it even more difficult to trace the trafficked children.
Nevertheless, the website is no longer available!
Legality and ban of escorts in Canada
Canada has had strict laws that prevented prostitution completely. However, recently the Supreme Court struck down the law citing it to be unfair to sex workers and being used as a threat against them.
It was the Canada (AG) v Bedford case where the verdict came in favor of the sex workers in Canada and the opus court decided to give the sex workers a huge sigh of relief.
Moreover, it took away their right to live and earn a living. This left the Government looking for ways to change the bill and bring in new laws. As of now, in Canada, escorts are no more penalized either for providing sexual services or for advertising their services. The proposed law, however, makes it illegal for anyone to buy sexual services or advertise sexual service knowingly.
The bill has not clearly mentioned what will constitute of ‘sexual service’ keeping it open to interpretation. The bill also makes it illegal to possess any type of item that can be used to forcefully tie the sex worker against will.
Accidents That Caused Escorts’ Deaths
It is not an unknown fact that escorts still face much danger to their life. There have been incidents of escorts deaths due to various reasons. There have been incidents where the clients went a bit too far and used too much force resulting in the death of escort accidentally.
Although the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA) gives a lot of security to the escorts of Canada in terms of violent activities, there are numerous cases where the violent streaks have caused life lone scars, even deaths to the escorts of Canada.
According to Juristat, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 294 sex workers were killed between 1991-2014. There were 24 killings of escorts in the year 2002 alone.
Not just the nature of the crime is condemnable but the leniency that the law enforcement has shown during those years is heart-breaking too. 35% of the reported cases remained unsolved and died among the large stacks of police files between 1991-2014.
More than 60% of escorts murders involved their clients, drug dealers, and gang members.
However, it is not always the fault of the clients either. Law enforcement officers have been charged with deaths of escorts as well. Rash driving while being chased by police isn’t uncommon. Police torture has been reasons as well.
In the end, it is fact that not all escorts have an alternate choice. Also, some are more into providing high-end specialized services and not mere sex. Escorts services are here to stay, either in light or veiled under shadows.