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Arms Length, The Law & Escorts


There is often a great deal of perplexity when it comes to understanding escorts and prostitution and the legalities of these practices and their players in various parts of the country.

In a bid to counter the misconceptions surrounding the subject, below you will find general information on what’s legal, what’s not, and what really counts as violation of the set laws.

What’s Legal

Escort services

Escort services are generally legal in all states in the US. Actually, even sex with an escort is legal, but only if the right procedures are followed. Escorts only get busted for prostitution if they solicit sex for money once they meet their clients or get into sexual acts with clients before rendering social companionship.

If an escort goes out on a date or watches a movie with the client and haves sex with him after at least sixty minutes of social companionship, the act is considered lawful. If it’s not legal, there obviously is a legal defense for each state in the US.

If the escort asks for cash in exchange for sex, it weakens the social companionship defense. True escorts do not up front solicit sex for pay with a client and render social companionship before sex, because, this way, it would be hard to distinguish them from prostitutes, who usually propose such deals. Moreover, there are many known cases of indoor prostitutes who use escorting as a front for prostitution.


In the past, anyone thought to be a prostitute would be arrested if found standing in a single street corner for a long time. The laws were repealed a long time ago, though, and now loitering is not illegal. Police can encourage prostitutes to move from a location but cannot arrest them unless they are breaking the law.

Massage parlors

As long as one is licensed by the city, it’s not illegal to work for a massage parlor.

Offering sexual services at massage parlors can only be illegal if authorities can prove the parlor is a place particularly meant for the purpose of prostitution.

Sugar babies

There are court rulings that legalize lover-mistress relationships and exempt them from prostitution statuses. With these relationships, most state laws allow clients to pay for relationships that include sex provided the relationship is not specifically for sex acts. If you lack a companionship as a buffer, paying for sex becomes prostitution.

What’s Illegal

First of all, prostitution is illegal in all states except some rural counties of Nevada, where it’s strictly regulated. According to Nevada state law, all prostitutes must use a condom during intercourse, and must be examined weekly for STDs and monthly for HIV. Also, brothel owners and prostitutes are required to be registered and licensed, and to pass a background check. Besides these and other few restrictions, anything goes in Nevada.

In other states, the following acts are illegal:


If anyone talks to a sex trade worker about exchanging sex for any form of compensation such as money, food, gas, drugs or payment of bills, they are committing a crime. Public places include hotel lobbies, restaurants, streets, parking lots and any other points to which the public has access. There is no offence, however, if you have no intent to engage in sexual services, meaning, you can stop to ask a sex trade worker for direction or time.


Also known as procuring, pimping is strongly reprimanded, and has very severe consequences in most states. Under any circumstances, you are not supposed to entice anybody to become a prostitute. Pimping can be in any of the following forms:

Exercising control or influence

You will be committing an illegal act if you exercise control, direction and influence on where an escort or a sex trade worker goes and who they go with. Massage parlors and escort agencies can be prosecuted under this law, and the only way to avoid getting caught up is allowing the masseuse or escort to have the final decision on whether to go for a date or not, without being penalized for refusing.

Living on the avails of prostitution

Massage parlors and escort agencies can be charged with this offence, though pimps are the most common victims. If you send out your daughter or girlfriend to join an escort agency or have sex for money and give you a share of the profits, you are acting illegally and should be charged with this offence as a pimp.

Paying for the services of an underage

Besides it being an offence obtaining escort or sexual services of a child, a john can be convicted of enjoying sexual services of an escort or prostitute who they believe is below 18 years, even if the escort or prostitute is actually an adult.

Common bawdy house

Owning, operating or simply being in a bawdy house is illegal. A bawdy house, in this case, is any place that is habitually and frequently used for prostitution. Those who can be prosecuted under this law include massage parlors.


If a john and a prostitute engage in a sex act in the presence of other persons, or with the intent to offend passersby, they can be convicted for indecent act or exposure.

Admissible aliens

An alien who comes to the US to principally, solely, or incidentally engage in prostitution before ten years after applying for a visa are over.. is inadmissible.

Importation of alien to become prostitute

Importing aliens into the country for prostitution or any other ‘immoral purpose’ is forbidden.

Prostitution near naval and military stations

Engaging in anything related to exchange of sex for money anywhere near a military or naval establishment is considered unlawful, and whoever engages in it shall be imprisoned for up to one year or fined, or both.

Cases related to prostitution and escort services

Among the latest prostitution and escort cases to make headlines include that of Maria Theresa Montoya, a 46 year old lady who had been arrested five times in the past in San Antonio for prostitution, and arrested again in May 2015 for the same crime. Montoya was arrested after approaching an undercover detective in his car and asking him what he was looking for.

In another conviction, two men, Lawrence Bruce and Justin McKinley were charged with promoting prostitution in the first degree and second degree respectively. The two who learned their fates in May 4, 2015, were found guilty of using a woman to trade sex for money, and were sentenced to 20 years in prison each by Judge Paul B.K. Wong. The case became the fifth of its kind to lead to imprisonment in Hawaii since 2010 when Kaneshiro, the case’s chief prosecutor, shifted the attention of prosecution to habitual johns and pimps.

Another case dating back to 2004 involved a Dutch citizen – Arthur Vanmoor – who owned one of the largest escort agencies in the history of South Florida, and used the agency as a front for a masterminded prostitution ring that fetched him millions every year. Vanmoor, 44, pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering and intent to commit racketeering, and was handed an 18-month jail term and a fine of $500,000.

The business, Florence Dating Service, is said to have fetched Vanmoor a total of $6.225 million between 1998 and 2001, and was responsible for 90% of the escort listings in the 2002 Yellow Pages of Broward County. However, with over 50 women working for the agency at one time and little under $800,000 worth of advertisement expenditure yearly, the police believed the profit figure provided in the company’s records was simply a fraction of what was really made off of johns.

Police based their case on bank statements and records from the business’s former employees and clients and a seized video from a hidden camera kept in Vanmoor’s office.

After completing his 18-month jail term, Vanmoor was immediately deported to the Netherlands.

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