Cupid’s Escorts leaves the sex trade

How one sex work service is adjusting to the new Protection Of Communities And Exploited Persons Act

The owner of Toronto’s largest escort agency, Cupid’s Escorts, is officially no longer in the business of selling sex.

Owner Jillian Hollander, who is in the process of restructuring her business to comply with the federal government’s new prostitution law, which officially came into effect December 6.

With the majority of the agency’s clients it’s not about buying sex anyway, says Hollander. It’s about intimacy.

“Many of these men find solace in just speaking to someone and being able to have a non-judgmental person just listen,” she says. “In a sense, I am providing really attractive therapists.”

Hollander says she’s always hired women who are bright, intelligent, funny and have the sophistication to engage in conversation on any number of topics. That’s why many of her clients book long appointments, sometimes as long as 12 hours.

But sex will no longer part of the date because of the new law. Hollander has asked all her staff to sign contracts requiring that they turn down all requests for such services. Escorts are now strictly “companions.” Under the new law, it is illegal for clients to ask.

“I also no longer provide condoms and I have ceased all hiring,” she says.

Recently, Hollander has sought legal advice from various sources, trying to figure out how she can continue to manage her business within the framework of the law. “This has been one of the scariest things I have even experienced,” she says.

She’s re-shooting all the photography on her website. Gone are the sexy pictures of nearly nude women. The women will now be in cocktail dresses. Cupid’s employs 36 escorts, all of whom are sticking by Hollander.

Hollander has always managed her business completely above-board. She believes strongly that her staff should be well compensated for their time, even by escort agency standards, and they should receive benefits.

Hollander offers a 25 per cent bonus for escorts that contribute to RRSPs. She also offers a bursary fund for anyone that chooses to continue to pursue higher education if they maintain an average of 85 per cent or higher, which works out to about $3,000 per year toward tuition. She also offers funding of up to 50 per cent for plastic surgery for any of her staff that would like to get some work done, such as Botox treatments or breast implants.

“On top of that, I have always connected the girls to lawyers, accountants, mortgage brokers,” she says. “I do everything I can to ensure that these women are treated the way that they deserve to be.” | @nowtoronto

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