Before I continue with part two of this series, I feel I must address some of the comments and issues raised by the readers in response to my last post.
I apologize if I communicated the wrong message.
In no way was I blaming the women in the sex industry for violence or crimes that happen to them.
To be clear, and to elaborate, the violence in the sex industry exists because our laws do not protect the women who work in it. Our legal system does not protect prostitutes because it is simultaneously prosecuting them for their profession.
Prostitutes are afraid to call the police because they fear getting arrested. People who seek to hurt or rob them know this. So these people perpetrate violence and crimes against them because they know that prostitutes are vulnerable victims.
Police also have the attitude of “What did you expect?”which means much of the crimes reported are not taken seriously by the police. So, not only does the woman reporting the crime risk arrest, she is humiliated beyond belief by people who are supposed to protect her.
It is not the woman’s fault she is afraid to call the police and in no way did she bring about the violence by not calling. She is vulnerable because the system is set up against her.
There has been much debate over decriminalization and legalization and if either would protect escorts. I personally support decriminalization, but this is a lengthy topic I am planning to address in a future column.
Furthermore, I am not defending any level of victimization of the women in the industry. Not from clients and not any that I myself may have done. I did not think about victimization or objectification while I was in the business. I simply thought I was giving women who chose to work a safe place to do so in a professional environment where they were respected.
In hindsight, I realize that my view was immensely flawed, and I do not condone my actions nor do I think anyone (madam, pimp, boyfriend, etc.) should take money made off of a woman’s body. I cannot change the things I have done in the past and my views have changed throughout the years. I have been held accountable for these things in the legal system and started a nonprofit to work with the victims of sex trafficking to try and give back.
In part one of this series I discussed one of the most common preconceived notions of the sex industry: that most women are forced into prostitution and that the men who spend time with them are using them and degrading and devaluing them.
While the above scenario exists, I am trying to show another side of the industry: the side where a woman chooses to be an escort and the clients are appreciative of her time. In showing you that there are women who choose to be escorts (and why) and that clients value them and their time (and why) I hope to show you that the sex industry is not always as dirty as you think.
Prostitutes are often smart, strong, beautiful women who choose to work; these women could be friends from college or the girl next to you on the treadmill at the gym or even a member of your family.
When I was in business, I insisted upon meeting the women who wanted to work to make sure they were mentally and physically up to it. I did six to eight interviews a day, five days a week. When I started I had no idea how to find girls to work. I placed ads on Craigslist. Then I went out and recruited. I went to these “models and bottles” nightclubs that NYC is famous for and talked to women. I was overwhelmed by the amount who wanted to work for me. From there it was a combination of recruiting, online and word of mouth.
The women who worked for me were 22-35 years old, beautiful, educated and goal-oriented. Some of my top girls were employed models and the most beautiful, charming women I have ever had the opportunity to meet. A lot of them came from affluent families or even had famous parents but wanted to be financially independent. They thought of the sex industry as a means to fulfilling their goals.
I understand that to someone outside of the industry it is difficult to fathom why a woman with an education or a known model would become an escort. The simple answer is money and freedom.
The girls who worked for me made $1,000 or more an hour. Many bookings were multiple hours for $8-10k. In one night these women could make $5,000 and on average a woman made $4,000 for two nights of work per week.
I did not require a set schedule. You could “call on” when you were available and I would call when I had an appointment for you. My only requirement was that you be ready to leave your house within 30 minutes of me notifying you. The girls had the flexibility of an open schedule and an enormous income potential with very few hours. And the money afforded many freedoms -- the freedom to pursue dreams, the freedom to live well and the freedom to have fewer worries.
There is also the issue of the type of clientele and type of appointments. In the high-end world where clients spend $1,000-$4,000 per hour, clients think of their appointments as an event, a date, and it's not an undertaking they are ashamed about. The clients are heads of companies, politicians, famous sports stars -- the time spent with them can be enjoyable.
This is not always the case but I made 80% of my money from non-sexual calls.
Yes, I made the bulk of my money off appointments that did not involve sex.
The big money calls came from clients who were partying. Some wanted to go to clubs and have someone to go with or a pretty girl by their side, and some were at home on a bender. Yes, there were drugs involved. Cocaine was the drug of choice in Manhattan and as long as the clients had drugs (a.k.a. "party supplies") the call continued. Sex never occurred because the client’s focus was partying and they were too high to get physical.
I tried my best to make sure the girls were sober so that they were always in control of the situation. My first month in business I booked a $15,000 overnight call with a client who was partying. The girl got there and called to say she was safe, then called again at the designated time. However, she failed to call at 7 a.m. when she was supposed to leave. I called her dozens of times and around 8 a.m. I called the client. By 9 a.m. when neither of them picked up, I went to his apartment as I was scared something had happened. The doorman took me to the door and after repeated knocking, the client answered. They had passed out.
After that I instituted a complete sobriety policy (which the girls followed about 75% of the time) and a strict safety protocol.
My new safety protocol required a three-call system. The first call the girl made was to tell the phone booker that she was at the appointment and the money was collected -- she is “in” (that was all she had to say). The phone booker would start timing her. If it was an hour appointment, the phone booker would call her at the 50 minute mark to find out if she was staying for another hour or leaving. If she was staying, the phone booker would call her at the new time. If she was leaving, she was to call the phone booker from the street to confirm she was out of the appointment and safe.
This protocol worked exceptionally well. Clients did not misbehave because they knew someone was watching over the girl and they never knew who that someone was (the clients were always scared the mob ran the agency).
We also did in-calls. For those not familiar with the industry, an in-call is when a client comes in to the girl for an appointment (conversely, an out-call is when the girl goes out to the client). I had the same protocol for my in-call appointments and I had a full-time manager at my apartments that physically sat there to ensure the girls were safe and that everything ran smoothly.
Plus, all clients were thoroughly screened. Screening consisted of using online sources such as getverified.com to check client’s names, addresses and phone numbers as well as making sure they were not blacklisted on escort-specific websites. I tried to be as safe as possible -- however, I am aware that no amount of screening could completely dissuade a truly bad element.
Technology played a vital role in the way I ran my business. I used an online appointment booking system so that everything was tracked and girls could check their appointments. I used a VOIP phone system so phone bookers could work from home (or another country since my call center was in Uruguay) and I did much of my marketing thru sites like erosguide and cityvibe. At one point I had a text messaging system that sent mass texts to 10,000 clients to let them know I had a new girl on the schedule and to prompt them to make an appointment.
In many ways the business of prostitution has shifted from the streets to behind closed doors. Things are done digitally instead of in-person. Working girls have Instagram and Twitter accounts soliciting for clients. Technology has changed the way the sex industry operates and has also made it easy for many naïve women to get into the industry without fully thinking about how to ensure their safety.
Initially, I was going to write this piece about a day in the life of a madam. But then I realized that that this piece isn’t about me, it's about the industry. More importantly, its about presenting a different perspective that helps show that many aspects of the sex industry are most likely very different than you think.