Vice Squad
Saturday, October 16, 2004
Running an Escort Agency

A friend of Vice Squad has pointed us towards this amazing article from the October 12 New York Times describing how one New Jersey woman, "Mae Lee," runs an escort agency. Here's an excerpt about some of the measures that Mae takes to lower the probability that she will find herself under arrest -- but the article is worth reading in its entirety:
Although the police rarely go after upscale operations like hers, Mae Lee employs a battery of procedures to keep prying vice officers at bay. To start with, she sticks to a steady roster of 2,200 customers, most from suburban New Jersey, whose bona fides have been thoroughly checked out. New customers often come via existing ones, and then they must provide personal information: a business name, a work telephone, sometimes a home number and an address. Before the initial conversation can proceed, Mae Lee puts the prospective client on hold, verifies the information on Google and dials the numbers, pretending to be a telemarketer when a wife or secretary answers.

A police investigator, she says, would never give up his home phone and address. Just to be doubly safe, she never writes down clients' personal information. "For some reason I can remember anyone by their e-mail address and phone number," she said.

Her agency exists in a netherworld created by cellphones, off-shore Web servers and invented names. The cellphone bills go to her lawyer, and the Jersey City apartment she operates from is rented in the name of a former boyfriend. Each rendezvous is clinched in a discreet, desexualized patter. Clients are assured that protected sex is the rule. Most encounters take place in hotel rooms she books by the week, reserved online at a discount, of course.
For an employee's side of the story, you might want to check out the blog of one New York call girl.

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