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We aren't given credit for that, though, because people think that if you sign up for this you're somehow doing something wrong," Olivia Grace, a Toronto escort, told me over the phone when I spoke to her about the nature of being an independent escort in Canada. Selling sex is legal in Canada, but buying it is not, and neither is advertising prostitution—a situation that has been criticized by many sex workers and academics.
When many in the mainstream public think of escorts, they often think of brothels, madams, and pimps, but the reality is that many escorts work independently.
Through review boards such as CAERF , and social media sites like Twitter and Instagram, indie escorts are able to advertise their services and fill their schedules without ever having to join an organization or align themselves under a boss. They are their own managers and they set their own rules, which means they also have to choose their own clients. Whether it's the fear of losing money or being in physical danger, the way in which escorts vet and screen their clients to see if they're actually legit is quite important.
We spoke to some independent escorts of different backgrounds to see how they make sure the people they're spending time with are for real. Some of the names have been altered to protect the identities of the individuals interviewed. VICE: How long have you been in the field for?
Lisbeth Nova: Two years almost. Do you find that more of a strength or weakness, compared to being in an agency? There is an upside and downside. For me personally, I'm very thankful I started independently. I'm also older than most others, I've got some street smarts. I'm very particular about who I see. I like to have a little bit of a chit-chat before I meet anybody.