THE streets of Manchester are aglow with fluorescent lights embedded in the bends of topiary. The giant foreboding face of the Christmas market Santa Claus looms over the city.
Christmas is a spectacle of celebration in the city for Manchester’s locals, but for those who make their living escorting on the streets, the celebration is of a different kind.
A sex worker, who goes by the name of Laura, fumbles with her lighter top, as she pushes back a lock of slick, black curls from her face. Tonight, the 27-year-old sex worker is on her way to top escorting spot The Venus Club.
An engagingly beautiful woman, Laura’s skin is as rich as dark chocolate, eyes a dance of brown and gold pigments.
With a flicker of joy within her eyes she says: “I’m incredibly busy this evening, three clients in total! I’m going for an early dinner, drinks, followed by a late dinner after that!”
Laura has been working as an escort little over three years. Despite her lack of longevity in the business, she has seen two busy Christmas periods so far, her 2015 Christmas calendar already filling up with clientele.
“I knew I’d have to brace myself for a demanding month”, she says, “I’ve had so many texts and phone-calls, this one guy has been sending me so many letters, letters!”
During the Christmas period, a large number of sex workers and escorts just like Laura will see a boost in their earnings and extensions to their lists of clients. This is due to what Laura describes as the “Lonely winter and Christmas peak.”
Laura has most recently been working on behalf of agency Cheshire Escorts. They have been specialising in the requirements of older gentlemen for twenty-three years. Often seeing their services in high demand around the winter and Christmas period.
A representative on behalf of Laura’s agency, Cheshire Escorts said: “Yes, our agency does see a rise in the amount of escorts we hire around the winter months.”
“We think our clients like to have someone close over Christmas as it can be a very lonely time for many people.”
Even from working her first Christmas independently, before joining Cheshire Escorts, Laura’s most popular clientele had been gentlemen twice her age or older:
“The clients I see to the most over the winter months are from lonely older gentlemen who have to spend the winter months, particularly Christmas alone.”
According to data from the BBC, in 2014 over 4-million people spent the Christmas period alone. A staggering 200,000 increase from 2013. The significant uprising in figures suggesting that 2015 could see an even further rise.
Laura has noticed that the lonelier clients that hire her during the Christmas holidays are willing to pay significantly more. It is Laura’s hope that her peak in demand this time of year will reel in the cash so she can afford to buy lavish gifts and spoil her family.
“I think it comes down to desperation”, she says. “When someone is so lonely they eventually get to that stage where they are willing to pay any figure just so they’ll have someone to spend time with.”
“Sometimes, all they are interested in is someone they can have a good conversation with. Even with something as simple as my African background, it can spark a conversation up with the gentlemen, you can instantly see a change in their personality!”
Laura’s standard charges for her escorting services range between £150 per client to a staggering £500 depending on what package the client would like.
But Laura confesses her starting charges during winter rise to almost double.
“Yes, I can afford to charge a little bit more during this time of year. It does mostly depend on what services a client is looking for, of course if they are just looking to have a conversation then my rates start from about £350, but of course the charges are much different if a client is looking to have a sexual service provided for them, perhaps as high starting rates as £550.”
Laura looks down to the calendar app in her mobile phone. Scanning through her lack of availability brings a smile to her face.
“I’m going to have an incredible Christmas this year”, She says, “barely a day free! I’ll be able to provide my family with some amazing gifts with all the money I make”.
With that, Laura heads forth into The Venus club to meet her 66-year-old client for that night. Leopard print heels clopping with delight and a beaming smile upon her face.
By Lucy Newman