What is an "escort cooperative"?
Since I am part of Thailand's first and only cooperative of independent escorts, I am often asked what the difference is between (1) independent escorts, (2) an agency, and (3) a cooperative which is what we are.
(1) Independent Escorts
Let’s start with Independent escorts as that’s simplest to understand. Independent escorts don’t work for anyone. They operate for personal profit and don’t have to split any of the profit with anyone. Another name for them would be “freelancers”.
Positives for them: They get to keep all the money they make. They have full control over when they work, who they see, what they do.
Positives for you: You get the satisfaction of knowing that the money you pay is going directly and only to them. You get an escort that probably wants to be with you and isn’t being pressured or forced in anyway to meet you. Rates are often more reasonable as you are just paying one person instead of the money being split several ways.
Negatives for them: The escort must handle everything from advertising, running a website, customer service, etc. These things can really add up costing a lot in both time and money, not to mention the difficulty at trying to master everything. All of these things can be a full-time job in itself. Also, if they have a problem with a client, they’ll have to attempt to deal with it themselves which can be difficult and dangerous at times.
Negatives for you: If you have a problem there is no-one to complain to—the escort might not be too concerned if there is a problem or you aren’t satisfied as there is no one for you to really complain to except to her. If she steals from you or the service isn’t good there is no-one for you to complain to in order to resolve the situation.
Be aware, many independent girls are not really independent but just say they are. Some of these might be really working for an agency or more likely a pimp that takes most of all of their money. Being truly independent is very difficult and a lot of work so few escorts are able to handle everything alone.
Agencies are companies and operate for profit.
Positives for them: The positive for the girls is that they have someone in charge of handling all advertising, managing the websites, verifying bookings, etc. If there is a problem with a client, they also usually have “enforcers” that can help take care of things.
Positives for you: There is someone to complain to if any problems occur.
Negatives for them: The girls are splitting a large percentage of their income. Here in Thailand most agencies take 50 - 100% of what the girls make.
Negatives for you: Since the girls have to give up most and sometimes all of what you agreed to give them, they must bug you for tips in order to make a living. Often times agencies will send their “enforcer” to make sure everything goes ok—so you might have a guy standing outside your room or in the lobby or at least out in the car.
We now move onto a cooperative which is more correctly defined as “a cooperative of independent escorts” or just a “cooperative” for short. A cooperative is an organized group of people that have similar interests and work towards a common goal. A cooperative is jointly owned and run jointly by its members, who share the expenses and benefits. As a group, the purpose is not profit for the group, but instead to help the individual members get what they want which might be profit for the individual members or other benefit like helping the members achieve a relationship that leads to a getting a boyfriend or marriage even.
Usually, like in our case, the fees are based upon the profits of the individuals so that individuals not earning as much pay less or even nothing.
I am part of the first and only true cooperative of escorts in Thailand and have been part of this group for over 8 years now. How we got to doing this point helps further explains what a cooperative is. I was playing around with doing some independent escorting myself when my best friend Ming contacted me asking for help finding clients as her 2 younger sisters had been involved in a motorbike accident in which a car had hit them. At least that’s what they said, but turned out they had turned into a car so it was their fault and as such the driver of the car wasn’t responsible. Ming needed to make some money fast and she asked me for help.
She had been talking to some guys online and had agreed to meet someone for 1,000 baht or about $30 USD. When she informed me of this I told her not to do that as if she was going to share her body for profit she should at least get what she’s worth. She explained that she didn’t know how to get higher paying clients and thus I began helping her.
With my help, she quickly covered her sisters medical expenses, repaired the motorbike that her sisters had been driving, and then began improving her clothing, buying things to improve her house, trips everywhere, and even built her parents a house. That got her friends thinking… “If she is making that much money, and we are all much better looking than she is. We should be able to make A LOT!” So one by one her friends asked if she could help them too.
We all helped each other but I was doing much of the advertising and website work at that time. Ming was paying directly for many of the ads and web related fees since she was earning the most, but with more friends involved we were able to spread out the expenses and invest in better ads, upgraded to our very own server for the site, and everyone shared their knowledge about things and helped out in any way they could. We all worked together with different ones doing the things they were strongest at and helping with anything they could.
One girl lead to two, to three, and more and more. Friends would come, some started dating clients and left which is the ultimate goal. Not only friends, but we also have many sisters and cousins that have passed through our cooperative. For example, Ming’s sister even joined us before quickly falling in love with one her clients and retiring at the early age of 20. Ming has had several cousins join us also. Many of the other girls have also had sisters and cousins and at this moment we have 3 girls who are sisters with us. When it’s a good thing for the girls, their friends and family want to be part of it. At the time of this writing, we have exactly 57 friends listed and available.
To keep things more organized, we assigned “managers” who are in charge of helping the girls. Things that need voting on the managers are suppose to either check with the girls or at least represent how they believe the girls would vote—with this many girls its much faster to just try to think about how some of the others would feel about things than to ask all 57 of them. However, everything is up for debate or change. If the girls don’t like the fees they pay, they can vote to change it. If they don’t like anything or want something done all they have to do is ask. Some things we can change individually like each girl can have her own rates, but some things need to be consistent to keep things better organized so those things can be voted upon.
That explains a cooperative. It’s a group of escorts that are independent, but are helped out by the other girls in the group. There is no boss, but there is someone for clients to complain to as any complaint that comes in the managers will usually share with everyone and we’ll make a decision about how to handle the complaint or sometimes we’ll just discuss it with the individual girl involved to save time. Sometime it might be returning money to the client and usually the girl involved completely agrees with our decision. Sometimes they might not agree in which case a vote is made with the client’s best interest always a top priority. If the girl involved still doesn’t agree, the group will take care of the issue (like returning money from us) and the girl is welcome to leave the group if she isn’t able to fit in.
Positives for the girls: There is no boss, no owner. Members of the group vote to make decisions and each member has an equal say as everyone else in the group. Fees are paid by all members to cover operational expenses. This helps greatly reduce the expenses for each girl as the group can share expenses and also often get discounted group pricing for things like ads. Each member also benefits greatly from the groups reputation, past client base, and group advertising.
Do the girls pay fees like an agency? Yes they pay fees, but NO NOT LIKE AN AGENCY. Fees are kept as low as possible so there is enough to cover expenses and also enough to cover rainy days. Some money we operate in the negative and tap into savings and even pump more money into advertising to increase overall bookings. Almost seems odd at times that during the slowest months we are spending the most to get bookings back up.
Is there a boss like an agency? No. Everyone gets to vote or have their say about everything. Some times, I’ll admit, the escorts with more experience which are assigned as managers sometimes make decisions without checking with all the girls as it just takes so long to check with everyone and we know everyone enough that we can represent what we believe their wishes will be.
At this point we have 3 girls we refer to as “managers” other than myself. Those are Ming, Pranee, and Sarah. Ming brings the experience since she has been involved since the start, but originally it was her best friend Amy that was both seeing clients and acting as a manager. Amy fell in love with one of her clients and retired, so Ming cut back on her bookings and moved up into the management role helping the girls in Bangkok mostly.
Sarah who we had known for a long time we convinced to move up into a management role and bring her friends from Phuket into our group. Managers get the benefit of much lower fees in exchange for being more involved helping the others. In order to be considered a manager a girl must have a lot of experience AND demonstrate especially exceptional performance show by her client reviews. Only the very top girls are offered this position. Besides the lower fees, managers enjoy being able to help teach their friends how to do what they’ve done.
Pranee is one of our other managers. She contacted us through the site and is one of the few that wasn’t really a friend of anyone. She had done her research and wanted to join us and only us. Usually we’ll reject new girls unless referred in by one of the other girls or by a client, but we gave Pranee a chance as she seems especially smart and we thought we could learn a lot from her. It wasn’t long before she impressed us enough that we asked her to help with managing. She accepted and brought in many of her friend in Pattaya and some other towns.
Positives for you: Prices are generally lower than many agencies. We focus less on “low” and more on “fair” so our fees are usually lower than most agencies, but not always. Our goal is “not” to provide the lowest fees. Either way, you can be sure the girls won’t be insisting upon tips afterwards. You also have a place to complain to if there is a problem unlike a fully independent girl that’s not part of a cooperative.
Negatives for them: If the girls mess up or do anything wrong with a client, they will be held responsible for it by the cooperative. Escorts that make a living by screwing over clients won’t last long in a true cooperative as theater girls will hold them responsible. We have had girls that are now with agencies or operating online as independents as they couldn’t make it with our group and almost always because they wanted to screw over clients and the rest of the girls wouldn’t allow that. About the only reason girls leave us is because they end up dating a client. If they leave for any other reasons you can usually bet they couldn’t make it with us because they wanted to screw over clients and we wouldn’t allow that.
Negatives for you: There are clients out there that want to screw over girls, treat them bad, and get ridiculously low rates. A cooperative won’t allow this to happen. The goal of the cooperative is to look out for both the clients and the girls equally—neither is less important. Neither the clients nor the girls will be screwed over in a true cooperative. If a client thinks they’ve been screwed over then that client is probably an asshole and doesn’t know it. Similarly if a girl feels like the cooperative is being unfair to her then she is probably an asshole and may or may not be aware of it—probably she does know but just wants to screw over clients yet a cooperative won’t allow that as it reflects badly upon all the girls in the group.
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