The arm's length relationship between the escort and the escort agency is designed to protect the escort agency (to some degree) from prosecution for breaking laws against prostitution.
If the employee is solely responsible for arranging any illegal prostitution-oriented activities, the agency can maintain plausible deniability should an arrest be made.
Some agencies may specifically deal in a certain type of escort.
There are male-for-male, female-for-male, and female-for-female escort agencies, as well as a few male-for-female agencies. Transsexual or transgender escorts are available from some escort agencies.
The new law now encompasses penalties of 7 to 9 years in prison for contracting an escort, 7 – 9 years in prison for transporting an escort to her appointment and now the most broad addition like in the United States, "facilitation" of any person, persons or company that promotes or services of an escort whether a newspaper, internet ad or website is subject to 9 to 11 years in prison, which grows to a maximum of 23 years if the offending person is a public servant of any kind.
Escort prostitution is one of the forms that the sex trade takes in the United Kingdom, along with prostitution practiced in massage parlors, saunas, private flats (such as the Soho walk-ups) and street prostitution.
Clients contact agencies by telephone and offer a description of what kind of escorts are sought.
The agency will then suggest an escort who might fit that client's need.
Typically, an escort will interview with an agency.
Once an agency decides to hire an escort, she or he will provide photographs or pose for a photographer.
However, there almost certainly do exist agencies that do go by these laws and do not facilitate prostitution.
Some countries have used a two-pronged approach of criminalizing street prostitution but permitting or licensing prostitution in brothels or via escort agencies.
The agency collects the client's contact information and calls the escort.