re: "why am I being charged escrow as a freelancer"
Freelancers are not "charged escrow."
When a freelancer is hired for a fixed-price contract, a client funds an escrow payment..
Jon applied to Sandra's job to write an article about cats.
They agreed to a $50 fixed-price payment.
Sandra created a contract, with a $50 milestone payment.
Sandra's credit card was charged $50 to pay for this.
Jon wrote the article and clicked "Submit Work for Payment."
Sandra released the escrow payment to Jon.
After a 5-day security hold period, Jon withdrew this earnings to his bank account.
Jon was not "charged escrow."