The sex industry is not just one thing; it is made up of different professional roles that people can play, although we are all one community.
The difference is that prostitution is a general label that society assigns to virtually everyone in the one-on-one sex industry, and escorting is a particular area. They are not really comparable. You can find a simple flowchart that breaks down the sections here.
Victims of sex trafficking are also called prostitutes but are not classified as consensual sex workers. This is the consensus part that I will cover here.
If you want to know the difference between an escort and a prostitute, you have to break your assumptions. Plus, you're still paying for her time, not for sexual acts. More information has been given here.
Having worked as an escort and in a brothel, I will use those two to explain. Society would call me a prostitute if I did either job. However, as you can see, brothel work and escort work are not the same things.
Work in the brothel - increased focus on sex in private
- Men usually come to have sex or relax and then go somewhere.
- Time has a standard expectation of sex when you want it.
- Less commitment is exempt unless requested
- One could say that street work puts a similar or stronger emphasis on expectations and time constraints.
Escort work: more attention to companionship and outings
- Men come often and want company on an outing. Dinner, event or party, a weekend somewhere.
- As freelancers, they can tailor the business to the client. I know a lady who makes her customers' favorite wine, so have a drink before you go.
- Time has a difference in society's expectations whether sex takes place or not.
If you want to go deeper we can quickly look at the other sections, although I don't have that much experience in those areas, that's my general understanding of the industry.
Working Like a Sugar Baby: Friends, Dating Through Funding
This is not a fixed-term, sex-inclusive situation. Someone who financially helps someone who is not. In return, the financier could just have company, could be platonic for a real relationship, or anything in between.
Work as a porn star - Actor/actress in adult films
The easiest way to explain. Julia Roberts played a sex worker, which made her not an actress, but an actress. Pornstars play the role of someone in a sexual situation. It's not always for fun, but to make a film about fun.
Stripper work - sexual/sensual exotic dance
It's about the dance. The teasing, the temptation, the look but not the touch. There can be routines to learn, work with the song; it can be thematic, especially working on stage.
Some are more alike than others, but they are all equally relevant to the sex industry.