Client #9’s most recent saga with Ashley Alexandra Dupre brought plenty of spotlight to the escort industry, and recently Portfolio mag has some numbers of the entire ‘pricey hooker’ industry.

Portfolio magazine’s writers, Duff McDonald and Miriam Datskovsky, cite the National Health and Social Life Survey (which sounds totally legit, if you ask me) when revealing that over 700,000 American men frequent the services of a prostitute each year. That’s a little more than the combined population of Alaska.

The vast majority of that number is perpetrated by ‘johns’ with dirty streetwalkers or brothel house workers. And as you may have guessed that’s not where the real money is. The real big bucks come from the 5% of those 700k transactions which are perpetrated through the discreet venue of escort services.

These escort services can be broken down into three generalized groups:

Group 1 – 94% of All Escort Users
This is how the vast majority of escort service transactions play out. It’s your run of the mill lonely businessman or corporate executive with some extra cash to blow. He’ll search out the services of an escort company he finds on the internet, places a call, doles out $500 to the nice lady and also pays a $40 booking fee. Pretty simple but, not nearly as exciting as the following groups.
Total – $540

Group 2 – 5% of All Escort Users
Here’s where Spitzer and other well-to-do politicians may fit in. Secrecy is key here. Most of the expense will be tied into keeping everything nice and low profile. The escort will cost around $3,200, which includes a $500 credit to ‘reserve future bookings.’ Two separate hotel rooms are also a must, and will run you around $938 for one night at the Mayflower in Washington. A train ticket for the lady to travel from NYC to DC will cost you around $138. And a couple of drinks from the hotel room minibar to loosen everyone up will amount to another $50.
Total – $4,326

Group 3 – 1% of All Escort Users
These guys are the cream of the crop. The kingpins of the escort industry, the ‘money shot’ if you will. These are your globe trotting billionaires with access to private jets. The escort herself will run a similar $4,500. Expect to pay $30,000 a night for a 4-star penthouse hotel room in a fun city like Miami. The private jet to get all interested parties together in one place will cost you another $15,400. Tack on an additional $1,000 for some top-notch wining and dining. Then don’t forget about the “distracting spa weekend package” for your unsuspecting wife – $5,000. Throw in a diamond necklace for your new ladyfriend ‘for all the trouble’ – $3,000 and you’re all set.
Total – $63,900

Based on these average numbers, Duff and Miriam did a little math and came up with the value of the total US escort economy as being worth around $109,668,808.

What else is worth around $110 Million? Sub-prime mortgage slinger, Angelo Mozilo’s severance package. Britney Spears’ annual economy. And Heather Mills’ divorce settlement. Wow, among that list I can’t decide which is more horrible. Maybe I’ll just stick to the hookers.

Portfolio: The Escort Economy, May, 2008