Escort Services in Arizona – Legal or Not?
The state of Arizona provides for various regulations of “adult services,” allowing for legal means of partaking in these forms of entertainment. When it comes to adult escort services, it is important to be aware of the line separating legal from illegal.
An escort is an individual who consents to accompany another person to an event, to provide entertainment or companionship to that person, or to model or perform a striptease for that person, in exchange for payment. Escorts may be provided by an escort agency. As defined by A.R.S. 13-1422, the services provided by an escort may not go further than that.
However, if an escort offers, or partakes in, sexual activity in exchange for money, then they have stepped into the realm of illegal prostitution. Likewise, if the patron of an escort requests sexual favors from the escort, they can also be charged with a prostitution offense. Arizona’s laws regarding prostitution can be read about here. Prostitution charges are class 1 misdemeanors, with penalties increasing as the number of offenses rises. In fact, anyone with four or more prostitution offenses could face a class 5 felony charge and incarceration of at least 180 days.
Additionally, Arizona also has laws regarding pandering (pimping) as detailed in A.R.S. 13-3209. According to this statute, a person can be guilty of a class 5 felony if:
- They place another person into the charge of someone else for purposes of prostitution.
- They place another person into a house of prostitution with the intent of that person engaging in acts of prostitution.
- They compel or encourage another person to live with them, or anyone else, for the purpose of prostitution.
- They compel or encourage another person to become a prostitute.
Beyond the laws surrounding escorts for the wider state of Arizona, cities and municipalities can also set their own local laws regarding this matter that are laid out in the city codes. These city laws vary widely in scope and detail. Below are just a few examples:
Per their city code, Mesa requires escorts to obtain and keep an escort license, valid for one year, following the filing of an escort license application. Escorts are specifically prohibited from sexual conduct, including groping, touching themselves or their patron on the genitals, buttocks, or breasts (of female), or requesting the exposing of genitals or breasts (for females).
Escorts and escort business are not permitted to advertise, and escort services and payment must be laid out in a written contract provided by the escort bureau.
Violations are class 1 misdemeanors and offenders can face fines up to $1500 for individuals or $20,000 for enterprises, and imprisonment of up to 6 months.
Per their city code, Scottsdale regulates escort services to prevent prostitution, drug dealing, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, and illicit money conduct. Escorts are required to be licensed by the City of Scottsdale, valid for one year, and open to any US citizen age 18 or older who does not have prior sexual offense charges. Escort bureaus must also be licensed. Escorts are required to carry a special ID card identifying them as an escort within Scottsdale city limits.
Escorts, and escort agencies, are permitted to advertise, but must display their Scottsdale permit license number.
Escorts may not work without a valid license, provide sexual services, request that their patron remove their clothing, or in any way touch themselves or their patron, or be touched by their patron, on their genitals of breasts, whether under or over their clothing.
Violations are a class 1 misdemeanor and offenders can serve up to 60 days in jail.
According to Prescott’s city code, escort agencies are considered “sexually oriented businesses.” Escort agencies may not operate with a valid sexually oriented business license from the City of Prescott. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and not have prior sexually related charges against them. Applicants must also be fingerprinted by law enforcement.
Violations are a misdemeanor, with additional charges for any agency that employs escorts younger than age 18.
Per Tempe’s city code, escorts may not work without a license, may not offer sexual services, and must operate out of an open office that does not advertise sexual conduct. Escorts and escort agency agents must be fingerprinted by the Tempe police department and may not have any prior charges of “moral turpitude.”
Violations of Tempe’s city code laws regarding escorts and escort services are misdemeanors.
Any individual who desires to engage in escort services, whether as an escort, agency, or patron, should be sure to stay within the regulations of Arizona state law. Further, they should research the city code of the city in which they intend to engage in escort services to ensure that their activities remain legal and are to local municipal code.
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