Are escort services legal in the United States (US): Find out what States and laws permit escorts

In some countries such as the Netherlands, window brothels, sex clubs, and escort agencies can operate legally. However, does the same case apply to the United States (US)?

While escort services are legal, they become illegal when sexual activities are put into the equation.

This article explores the meaning and the legality of escort services according to the laws of the US. In addition, the article will provide a list of States where escort services are either legal or illegal.

Also, if you have been arrested for prostitution-related offenses, this article will provide valuable information including possible defenses you can use.

What is an Escort?

Are escort services legal in the United States (US): Find out what States and laws permit escorts
Escort services are usually hired by people with affluence. Image from

An escort is a person who provides companionship to a client or customer in exchange for money.

An escort provides companionship for various social, entertainment, or business functions such as dinner dates, travel, and entertainment or award ceremonies.

Escorts should never provide their clients with sexual services; it is not legal.

When escorts provide sexual services, then the act becomes prostitution by its legal definition.

In such cases, escort service providers such as owners and operators of escort services, strip clubs, or other adult establishments can face a wide range of charges such as the promotion of prostitution, compelling prostitution, sex trafficking, and permitting prostitution.

Are Escort Services Legal in the US?

The legality of escort services varies from state to state.

In some states, escort services are legal as long as they do not involve prostitution.

In other states, all forms of prostitution are illegal, including escort services.

What States in the US are Escort Services Legal?

Escort services are legal in some form in most states in the US.

However, the specific laws governing escort services vary widely from state to state.

Some states require licensing, while other states do not have specific laws that make escort services legal.

Therefore, it is important to be covert when you are hiring an escort, as a thin line exists between escorting and prostitution.

In general, escort services are more likely to be legal in Nevada, as it is the only state with counties that allow brothels and some forms of prostitution. Moreover, Nevada allows escort services to operate legally under strict guidelines and licensing requirements.

Additionally, Federal laws such as the Mann Act make transporting individuals across state lines for immoral purposes a criminal offense.

In New York and California, escort services are legal. However, escorts have to apply for a license to be allowed to legally work. Therefore, agencies operating legal escort companies or escorts may be subject to frequent string operations.

In Texas, Hawaii, and Illinois escort services are illegal as the laws classify them as prostitution.

However, in the states of Maine and Rhode Island, the laws are ambiguous on the legality of escort services.

Several states such as Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, and Montana have strict laws regulating prostitution, however, they do not overtly ban escorts.

In general, it is important to consult an attorney if you want to set up an escort company or procure escort services. An attorney will be helpful in informing you if escort services are legal.

Additionally, an attorney can also represent you in the case you hire an escort and are arrested for the offense of prostitution.

Are Escort Companies Legal?

Registered and licensed escort companies providing related services are legal in the US,

Services provided by escort agencies should be strictly confined to providing their clients or customers with a companion for a certain fee. Such companionship is strictly available for purposes such as entertainment events, business events, or dinner dates.

Escort agencies that provide “extra services” expose themselves to sting operations by law enforcement and police officers.

In most states, it is legal to operate an escort company as long as it does not involve prostitution.

However, there are some states where all forms of prostitution are illegal, including operating an escort company.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Services Does an Escort Provide?

The services provided by escorts can vary widely depending on the individual and the client’s needs.

The most common services offered by escorts include dinner dates and travel companionship

Are escort services legal in the United States (US): Find out what States and laws permit escorts
An escort can provide companionship at dinner, lunch, or breakfast dates. Image from

What is the Difference Between Escorting and Prostitution?

The main difference between escorting and prostitution is that prostitution involves the exchange of sexual acts for money while escorting involves providing companionship and/or sexual services for money.

In general, escorting is legal as long as it does not involve prostitution.

Prostitution is illegal in the US, except in certain counties in the state of Nevada.

In many states, prostitution is charged as a misdemeanor whose penalties include six months imprisonment in a local jail and a fine of up to 1,000 dollars.

However, if minors are involved the charge can result in a felony that includes charges such as solicitation, rape, sodomy, forcible touching, or sexual harassment.

What evidence will the US government use to determine that your escort service is not legal?

The government will use several pieces of evidence to prosecute owners and operators of escort services.

In most cases, the prosecution can build a strong case where:

  • Records relating to the sexual preferences of customers are discovered in your possession
  • Records relating to sexually transmitted diseases that customers had are found in your possession
  • if evidence discovered by the prosecution includes counseling sessions for escorts on ways to treat and avoid infections caused by the frequent use of lubrication and condoms or systems by which they can continue to work during their monthly cycle
  • evidence of training escorts on how to identify undercover police officers

What are the possible defenses if I am charged with prostitution?

Are escort services legal in the United States (US): Find out what States and laws permit escorts
It is illegal to seek any sexual favor from an escort. Image from

Possible defenses for a prostitution charge include:

  • No monetary exchange between the parties.
  • No consent for sexual intercourse
  • Unlawful tactics from law enforcement. An example of such conduct would be coercion through string operations or entrapment
  • False accusation through mistaken identity

Should I consult a criminal defense attorney for my prostitution charge?

When charged with solicitation of prostitution or prostitution you need to consult a criminal defense attorney

A criminal defense attorney can help in the following ways:

  • Avoid a criminal record. If you are an escort, a criminal record can prevent you from ever working in this industry again.
  • Avoid penalties such as fines
  • Negotiate for alternative sentencing

Generally, the prosecution will listen to an attorney. Therefore, it is key that one finds an attorney to represent their case in court.

An attorney will also usually be experienced in matters concerning laws regarding escort and prostitution.


Escort services are a controversial topic in the US.

While some people view them as a legitimate business, others see them as a form of prostitution.

While escort services are legal in some form in most states, the specific laws governing these services vary widely from state to state.

If you are considering using an escort service or starting your own escort company, it is important to research the laws in your state and consult with a lawyer if necessary