Police in Beijing held a fake casting in order to find foreign models working without authorization in China, according to online industry pubications Fashionista and The Business Model. As many as 60 models were arrested during the May 8 sting at M3, a modeling agency located in Jianwai Soho. Many were from Russia and Ukraine.
Both publications rely on unnamed agents and models as sources. But the New York Times’ Edward Wong has now picked up on the story, interviewing people who have been in touch with some of the detained models.
Wong reports that at least some of the models have now been deported. They were granted access to officials from their respective embassies during their period of detention.
The public security bureau in Beijing has not commented on the matter, reports NBC News.
China Daily reported in 2012 year that most foreign models in China work illegally with tourist visas.
One model interviewed by the Times said that working illegally in China is dangerous. And in January, Meredith Hattam, a young American model, wrote an essay published by Fashionista that described low pay, long hours of drudgery, and sexual exploitation. At least since 1994 the Chinese government has been concerned about foreigners drawn into illegal work as hostesses, in pornography, and in the sex industry.
Meredith Hattam: My Life Working as a Model in China (Fashionista, Jan. 13, 2014) (Excerpt: “Alina is renewing our tourist visas for just a few more weeks so that the bizarre jobs that characterize Beijing’s modeling market — car shows, fake beauty pageants and pajama catalogs — will not go unbooked.”)
China Hang-Up Podcast, on the “Ups and Downs of the Modeling Industry in China”