Modeling and Pornography are often the gateway to Human Trafficking

I want to preface this post by saying not all modeling jobs are bad, and there are more good modeling jobs than bad ones. The problem is that anyone who pursues a modeling career and their families need to know the risks and slippery slopes caused by bad actors within the industry.

Models are often recruited by modeling agencies while in their childhood and early teens. These models often pose for local advertisements, catalogues, and magazines. These jobs often pay pretty well for a young teen in high school and open other opportunities for them to pursue larger careers. It is usually at the transition from the local jobs to the higher jobs that the bad actors emerge. Here are the signs of which you need to be aware.

  1. An opportunity that is too good to be true. Pay attention to opportunities like a trip to Las Vegas, Hollywood, and Europe
  2. Hidden contract fees, the pay is good but the hidden costs take the money away from you. In many cases the model goes into debt, incurred through the hidden costs. If the contract is billing you for your hair, makeup, marketing, or your living expenses, this should raise your alarm bells. If your bills for working your job are quickly becoming greater than your pay, you need to bail out quickly. This slippery slope is often the gateway into the porn and trafficking industry.
  3. Requests for nude photo shoots, this often quickly turns into sex trafficking. The common ruse is for the modeling agency to partner with an escort service. Escort services are often a cover term for human trafficking.
  4. Requests or insistence to act in pornographic videos to pay back debt
  5. Introduction to addictive drugs and alcohol. Encouraging substance abuse
  6. Introduction to the party lifestyle. The larger than life lifestyle adds to incurred debt which opens the door for opportunists to introduce the model into the porn industry
  7. Constant body shaming, and self-image shaming this abusive behavior often leads to bulimia, and anorexia. This behavior also opens the door for opportunists to recruit for human trafficking
  8. Romeo pimps or honey pots are often used to become a boyfriend or girlfriend and force recruitment into human trafficking. A good rule of thumb is to remember that if the potential suitor’s interest seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  9. Requirement to work long hours six or seven days a week
  10. Requirement to live in a controlled environment where the models must report in and out with the agency. If the model is being controlled and restricted by the agency, this should be a huge indicator.

We discussed learned helplessness in a previous post which is very relevant to this list. The hook in each of these items is that the bad actors use learned helplessness to overwhelm the model. The hidden debt accrued by many of these models can become overwhelming for a young person. Other problems like the erosion of self-esteem from body shaming add an additional dimension to learned helplessness. Perhaps the biggest hook is the abandonment of a teen’s upbringing and worldview. The shift may be subtle with nude photo shoots, drugs, and alcohol and may progress rapidly to working as an escort or participating in pornography.  People often become captives through the slow surrender of freedom, much like a lobster in a pot. The lobster never realizes the danger as the water temperature slowly rises to a boil. A young person, much like the lobster, may not see it coming either.

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