Modelling agencies give young women the promise of a better life, a career, a stable income and removal from the war-torn African countries they’re sheltering from. However very few of the women picked from those at refugee camps like Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya where the majority of the investigation took place are ever successful, which begs the question why do the agencies do it in the first place?
They’re simply pulling people in with the promise of money before sending them back with nothing but a mountain of debt from the travel and food expenditure. The times revealed one woman, Nyabalang Gatwech Pur Yien, received a bill for over two thousand euros, a price she could never hope to pay and one that is outrageous. There isn’t always work for all these models and in my opinion, they’re being scammed by these agencies, and they deserve better treatment.
A typical runway of today is still dominated by white, thin women who don’t represent more than a sliver of society. In a way this decision to take models from diverse communities in the effort to improve their lives is almost admirable, but the failure of those putting on runways to employ these women means efforts seem lacking.
It is not only these women that are subjected to the trials of the modelling industry. Agencies are often privy to unethical business practices, and it is the models in these situations that become the victim. More regulation over what agencies are doing is certainly called for especially when we read about situations like this one where models are quite clearly being extorted for their own looks without any benefit, even financially to themselves.
It seems to be a forgone conclusion that the fashion industry should treat models, particularly these women, better than they do.