We know that some models pursue dangerous measures in the hopes they will join the cadre of elites. We know that being a top model means million-dollar contracts and the key that unzips Leonardo DiCaprio’s pants. And we also know that many modeling agencies are all too happy to exploit preteen and teen girls, putting their sexual, mental and physical health at risk in pursuit of big bucks and prestige. Agencies get a cut of the money, after all. The 2012 documentary “Girl Model” (which is screening on Netflix now — go watch it!) pulled back the curtain on the lack of protections for underage models, especially ones who have traveled from faraway foreign countries, alone, don’t speak English or know their rights — like, say, you shouldn’t have to suck anyone’s dick to get a gig.
This week, New York’s state legislature took a step in the right direction by passing a bill that will give models under age 18 the same legal protections as child actors and other young performers. The laws would apply to both print and runway models. Keep reading »
Forced child labor is on the rise according to a new report from risk analysis firm Maplecroft. The UK firm examined 197 countries and found that around 40 percent were classified under the “extreme risk” category. Not surprisingly, conflict-torn countries and authoritarian regimes topped the list. Myanmar, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Burundi, Pakistan and Ethiopia round out the top 10, though an additional 66 countries fall into the extreme risk category. Keep reading »
Shocking: Victoria’s Secret is a house of lies! The cotton used for their underwear, which they deem on the labels as “fair trade” and “good for women, good for the children who depend on them,” has been outed by Bloomberg News. Turns out their methods aren’t quite as good or as fair as the company claims; in fact, their cotton wares are sourced by abused and unpaid children in Burkina Faso. Excellent! VS has been using cotton from the west African country for four years. Ironically, they launched a line of underwear in 2009 that “boasted about the cotton’s origins, as well as how purchases would improve the lives of Burkinabé cotton pickers.” To the brand’s credit, they’re upholding that they were unaware of the practices, and are “engaging with stakeholders to fully investigate this matter.” Get the full story here on Bloomberg. Fair warning: it’s pretty brutal. Now, put down those 3-for-$10 thongs. You don’t want them anyway! [Bloomberg]
Just a little reminder for us to think about where our clothes come from. Spanish retailer Zara has been accused of child labor and violating fair labor practices by Brazil’s Ministry of Labour and Employment. According to the agency, 52 workers in one of the company’s São Paulo factories were being held in “slave-like” conditions, and at least one underage girl was found working there, violating child labor laws. Workers were required to work 16-hour shifts in windowless factories, and were paid significantly below Brazil’s minimum wage, earning between $170 to $286 a month. As a result of Brazil’s several months’ long investigation, Zara’s been charged with 52 infractions.
Notes the Brazilian fiscal auditor, Zara “should be responsible for all of its suppliers, and it is a duty of the company to be aware of how its merchandise is being produced.” But that’s often not the case. And when retailers fail to follow the long tail of their supply chain down to their factory workers, everyone loses. Keep reading »