New laws to protect child models
The United States of America has proposed a new legislation to ensure that child models receive the same rights as child performers. Senate co-leader Jeff Klein and State Senate Labour Committee chairwoman Diane Savino, together with model Coco Rocha and former child models, hope to prevent child exploitation in the fashion industry.
The new laws require employers to provide a nurse with paediatric experience, as well as offering safety-based instruction and information to child models and their parents/guardians. The law further stipulates that a “responsible person” should be present to monitor any model under the age of 16. A trust must also be set up by the child’s guardian, in which the employer must transfer at least 15% of the child’s wages.
A former child model herself, Coco Rocha explained why these laws are so important: “Having once been a teenage model, living and working in New York, I know all too well the difficulties that face underage models. Little to no workplace standards at times made my profession a very dangerous one for a minor. When it comes to protecting children, the moral argument overrides any perceived inconvenience of rules, record keeping or expense. That fact has long been acknowledged for other child performers, like actors, dancers and singers, all who enjoy protection under law. Perhaps due to an unfortunate oversight, this has never applied to child models. I’m thankful that the Model Alliance and Senators Savino and Klein are raising awareness around this issue and am confident that through continued efforts we can ensure a safer environment for the next generation of child models.”
In the United Kingdom there are some regulations already protecting child models. In fact in April, Vogue signed a ten point code protecting models while at work, prohibiting models under the age of 16 to be used for photo shoots on behalf of adult models. The agreement ensures that models hired by Vogue will not work longer than ten hours a day and have sufficient food provided to them. Child models are not allowed do any semi or fully nude shoots unless agreed in advance. Other conditions include mandatory breaks, changing rooms, transport, prompt payment and suitable temperatures for the clothes being modelled.
The modelling world needs to remember that there is a fine line between child labour and adult labour. Let a child still remain a child. Do not let them grow up too fast.