Risky Business Doesn't Have to be so Risky: one escort's safety practices, post-FOSTA

I know someone who is an escort/full service sex worker. Let's call her Faye. I'm going to talk here about some of the safety measures Faye utilizes, along with some red flags and danger signs that she looks for. I'm going to use male pronouns for clients and female for our escort example, although neither is always the case. Faye is an extremely privileged, white, thin, cisgendered, straight presenting sex worker who has the luxury of screening carefully and being selective. This isn't the norm, and she says that for most of her career and depending on how money is, she will skip certain safety measures. The following is a best-case-scenario, privileged screening process. However, most of the info here can be applied to other situations fairly easily.

First, let's walk through her booking process. Post-FOSTA, just putting up an ad is a little bit complicated. Faye googles "Escorts in (her area)" and places ads on all of the available sites. At the end of each ad, it says "Please be prepared to provide references and verification information for both of our safety and comfort". This is safety measure #1. Many predators will see this as someone who is experienced and won't put up with shit, which is accurate in this case.
Someone texts her (a burner phone bought at Dollar General because they don't make people register their phones, and she never enters any personal information relating to her real identity at all into that phone, she uses this phone for all escorting business, including putting up and checking ads). Usually something like "Hey", "Wyd", "Avail", or "Looking for company?". Not everyone has the luxury of doing so, but Faye no longer answers the shorter, more rude texts. She's found that serious potential clients will say something more along the lines of "Hey, is this Faye? I'm interested in booking.", and that these clients are more willing to verify. The very best ones will say who they are, when they would like to book, and offer to verify off the batt. Not common, but nice when it happens.
She runs his number through a number verification app to make sure he isn't obviously a danger. I'm happy to provide specifics on apps and sites she uses to other sex workers, just shoot me a DM on IG or Twitter and let me know who you are first. 
If he asks about specific acts or the price of her time, she links him to her review page which also has her rates, and says they can discuss boundaries as soon as he verifies. She does not want to discuss anything incriminating before making sure he's not law enforcement.
If his number is okay she replies, finds a time they can both meet (always at her incall for first time clients, because she feels safer on home turf), and asks them to provide links to the websites or ads of two providers who can give a reference for them. Links are harder post-FOSTA, but she doesn't just accept a phone number because that could be his cousin for all she knows. There needs to be some evidence that the contact info is for actual providers. He also needs to give more info than his first name and photo, because his references may not remember him. If this all goes smoothly, she contacts the references, politely asks about the client, and confirms the booking once they say the client is safe. If this goes well, the next step other than getting a selfie can be skipped. She needs the selfie to get references anyhow.
If he doesn't have references, she asks for a selfie touching his nose and two of the following: link to active social media with photos of the client's face, a photo of a photo ID with his name and photo visible, a photo of a piece of mail, a photo of a business card, an email sent from his work email address, or a link to his professional profile online. At least one of these has to have a photo involved to double check against the selfie. She makes sure that the photo and selfie match, then digs through the internet to make sure this person isn't a known police officer or blacklisted on any safety sites by other workers.
Assuming all of this happens and checks out, which typically isn't the case, she now has a booking that she knows is relatively safe. She still keeps a gun she is trained to use and retain in her incall near the bed, and prior to gun safety training she kept a taser and police-issue pepper spray on hand. There are all risky behaviors, because a client could use any of the weapons against her, and she's likely to be arrested if she uses them in self defense. She's decided that this is better than having no weapon.
She always makes sure that the man at the door is the one from the photos, as well.
Throughout this process, a trusted friend receives enough info to find the client should Faye go missing, along with times and location of appointment. Faye texts this person at the start of the appointment and when the client is gone. The trusted friend then deletes all of his personal info and forgets he exists. These safety check-ins are vital, and it's also vital that the friend is going to keep the client's identity safe.

So, that's the breakdown of how Faye books. Now let's go over some red/yellow flags:
1. Refusing to verify
2. Refusing a selfie
3. Asking if they get to have links to her social media or her birth name/personal info
4. Asking for more sexy photos than already in the ad
5. Trying to talk a lot about specific acts/prices
6. Trying to get her to talk dirty prior to meeting
7. Asking for bareback services (no shame to those that offer this, but it's a hard limit for her)
8. Being pushy about ANYTHING/generally acting like they don't understand boundaries
9. Photos that don't match the name/number/email address/etc.
10. Zero online presence
11. Reverse image search pulls up the selfie (unlikely to actually be the person on the phone)
12. Knows all the lingo but has no references
13. Complains that FOSTA made it impossible for him to have references
14. Is listed on any blacklist sites
15. Comes up when you Google "Officer So And So"
16. Unable to say which ad they found her through
17. "Another escort did this/offers this service/only charges this much"
18. Haggling in a pushy or rude way

This example is someone who can be extremely selective with clients, so it may not all apply to everyone. In fact, Faye lets yellow flags slide and relies heavily on intuition, which is still the best skill you can have in this industry. Being able to sense shifty and potentially dangerous behavior from a distance is a priceless tool that many of us rely upon heavily. FOSTA has made manual verification more difficult, so Faye trusts her gut often.

Hopefully this was helpful to service providers, and not too helpful to the creeps who are undoubtedly reading this gleefully hoping to learn to better evade screening techniques.

Feel free to comment with your safety suggestions, but make sure not to discuss any illegal activity that you engage in, for your safety and mine.


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