The madam's golden rule

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 November, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 November, 1994, 12:00am

EUROPEA boss Roberta Hilburn was aware the escort business was open to scandal - but encouraged escorts to pamper clients 'for big tips'.

She introduced a strict dress code for her employees to prevent hostile hotel staff from identifying them as prostitutes.

'Escorts do make private deals with our clients for big tips,' she told staff in a memo. 'We know this and do not approve of it, but it has nothing to do with the service we provide: an introduction, a massage and the escort's time.' But despite 'not approving of it', Ms Hilburn was keen to ensure the clients came back to Europea by introducing bonus payments to those who brought in the most business.

Escorts who were able to convince clients to call Europea time after time were sent letters of congratulation. Telephone staff were also pampered by Ms Hilburn to ensure they matched a prospective client with his or her 'dream date'.

But the golden escort rule was meticulously enforced - telephone staff were told never to discuss sex with clients on the phone, even if they persisted in asking if the agency fee included sex.

'Make it quite clear that anything beyond the service we provide is entirely a personal matter between client and escort, and must be discussed with the escort.

'Of course, our company is not involved in anything illegal or unethical, but because of the reputation of the business as a whole, one will need to have (a) broad-minded friends/family; or (b) a good cover story for people you don't know very well.' Escort agencies are a legitimate business and, although many are believed to be fronts for prostitution, there is little the police can do. While prostitution is not a crime, soliciting, operating a vice establishment and living off immoral earnings are.

'With many of these escort agencies, it is very difficult to prove that they have done anything wrong,' said a police spokesman.

'These agencies tend to arrange massages and not prostitution. However, this is often a front for prostitution and that fee goes to the girls and not the agency.

'Therefore, it is very difficult to secure concrete evidence to get these escort agencies prosecuted for vice-related offences.'