Rick in the Austin Statesmen

Escorts said to be a vibrant business in Austin

Some women charge thousands.

By Tony Plohetski
Friday, March 14, 2008

The pictures come on the screen in a flash after a simple Internet search: Scantily clad or nude Central Texas women offering escort services for top prices, some getting hundreds — or thousands — of dollars per client.

Austin apparently has a thriving moderate-to-high end escort business, with dozens of Web sites showing women willing to serve as a dinner companion or sexual partner. Austin police and the escorts themselves also report a booming local escort economy. Some of the women say their work supports families or provides a job when they couldn't find one otherwise.

The Web sites also include information that the women say is biographical, including where they went to college and their physical attributes, such as eye or hair color and hometown.

The women on one site, who range in age from 18 to mid-40s, charge rates from $200 an hour up to several thousand dollars, depending on the clients' requests and the duration of the visit.

The resignation this week of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who is accused of having trysts with high-end escorts in Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities, has shined a light on the high-end sex industry. Spitzer is accused of paying a woman who once lived in Austin for sex last month during a trip to Washington while he was the subject of an FBI investigation.

Such escort businesses generally get little law enforcement attention, Austin police Lt. John Colunga said Thursday.

Instead, police try to enforce prostitution laws in neighborhoods, where residents complain about the market bringing drugs and decreasing the quality of life, he said.

Police have had complaints from residents in apartment complexes reporting possible prostitution after seeing different men leaving a particular unit. Police have investigated those concerns and made arrests.

"Typically, (escort businesses) don't generate many complaints," Colunga said. "But we just know there is a lot of it going on."

An escort, who did not want her name published, said she got into the business a couple of years ago after a job-related injury kept her from working.

"I wouldn't say I'm getting rich, but I'm definitely supporting myself," she said. "It's like owning any other small business and working for yourself. You don't know you are going to make X amount of money this month, or X amount of money next month."

The woman said that her clients have included anyone from University of Texas students to "middle-aged, married executives."

Rick Reynolds, founder of the Affair Recovery Center, a marriage counseling service in Austin, said he has treated dozens of men who hired high-end escorts. Some did so every time they went on a business trip, he said.

Reynolds said that for many of the men, the thrill of the experience was mostly in planning the trysts, with the intensity of their excitement increasing with the amount of money they planned to pay.

"It is kind of a gamble," he said. "And the more the money, the bigger the anticipation, the more fear of failure."

Reynolds said many couples have repaired marriages after such encounters.

Go to Austin Statesman original article

Add New Comment