Modeling scam victim almost lured into trafficking

Modeling scam victim almost lured into trafficking

Whenever we discuss the modeling scam we usually talk about how it could lead the victim into spending a lot of money that they don’t need to. For example, a number of online and radio ads for modeling jobs are actually just sales pitches for overpriced classes or photo packages. However, there is a much darker side to the modeling scam that can have grave consequences for the victims involved and that is human trafficking. Traffickers often pose as modeling or talent agents in order to find victims and a recent story shows what lengths they will go to find their victims.

In Huntsville, Alabama it’s believed a 21-year-old woman almost fell victim to human traffickers posing as a modeling agency. If it wasn’t for her mother losing her car in the airport parking lot the woman might have never been seen again. When an airport employee saw the woman frantically looking for her car the employee stopped to help the woman. As they got to talking the woman said she had just dropped off her daughter at the terminal and that her daughter was leaving for a modeling offer in Phoenix. The mother told the employee that the agency even bought her daughter the ticket to fly to Phoenix. Thankfully, the airport employee had been trained on how to recognize human trafficking.

Thankfully, they were able to find the woman before she boarded the plane. The employee was able to convince the woman that the modeling offer may not be on the up and up and arranged to have a police officer escort her at her destination. The employee then called the ‘agency’ to tell them that the woman would be escorted by police. It was shortly thereafter when the woman received texts from the fake modeling agency saying her flight had been canceled. Both Homeland Security and the TSA have said that the phony agency has been linked to other instances of human trafficking.

If you or a family member has ambitions of getting into modeling, have realistic expectations of what can be achieved in such a field crowded with treachery at every turn. Always do as much research as you can into any offer or opportunity you might find. Not everyone can be a model but these scammers, predators, and traffickers target victims who believe they have a shot in the modeling or entertainment industry and take advantage of their dreams. The Federal Trade Commission website has some tips on how not to get scammed by modeling ads.