Children as models. Part 2.

Hudson Kroenig son of Chanel model Brad Kroenig

Another area in which modelling and law intersect is the use of children as models.

Although outsiders often view the fashion industry as enchanting, alluring and attractive, the reality is very different from models in the industry, especially child models.

Some have mentioned the persistent problems of sexual abuse. Others have examined the horrible working conditions, as all but glamorous.

We must not forget that a huge chunk of the fashion industry is child labour.

The modelling business is today unregulated and relies on the labour force of children.

Many speak of the infamous topless shoot that launched Kate Moss’s career. She was only 16 when she was told that she could lose her job, if she didn’t take off her top, she explains:

” they were like: if you don’t do it, then we’re not going to book you again, so I locked myself in the toilet and cried and then come out and did it. I never felt very comfortable about it.”

It is said by many, that unfortunately what happened to Kate Moss over 20 years ago, is still happening.

While child actors, dancers and singers are protected by the Department of Labour Regulations in various countries, children who are fashion models are not.

The UK government regulations state that the youngest age a child can work part-time is 13, except children involved in modelling. Children working in modelling need a performance license.

Children can only start full-time work once they have reached a minimum school leaving age – they can then work up to a maximum of 40 hours a week.

In England, a young person must be in the part-time education or training until they’re 18.
Labour laws in the UK and under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 state that Children under 15 and above, but school leaving age are permitted to work during school term 12 hours a week and during school holidays 25 hours a week for under 15-year-olds and 35 hours a week for over 15-year-olds but under the school leaving age.

In France, there are strict rules regarding the employment of minors under 16.

The United States similarly regulate employment laws for minors under the age of 16. According to the Department of Labour there is an absolute prohibition to employing 14 and 15-year-olds during school hours before 7 AM and 7 PM; more than three hours a day on a school day including Fridays, more than eight hours a day on a normal school day, more than 18 hours a week during a school week; more than 40 hours a week during normal school weeks.
There are also occasional requirements of work permits.

Interestingly, in New York, they recognise that fashion models are excluded from the Department of Labour.  Instead, models under 18 years, fall within the jurisdiction of the Department of Education and afforded modest protection, with specific working hours which are rarely observed or enforced.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary in the U.K.,  has said: “It has been a profound shock to discover the extent to which child labour has reappeared in our country. We can and we will eliminate it, providing everyone at every level of society does what they can to help. No man, woman or child should be left to suffer through modern slavery.”
Yet, for now, modern child exploitation (in this case – modelling) remains largely behind closed doors. We must work together to force them open.

Toddler Model

6 thoughts on “Children as models. Part 2.

  1. Well said but unfortunately the model industry is in a bubble of its own protected By corporations and politicians. Without child labour vast profits could not be possible, Longevity is what makes it so appealing. To have workers that will outlive you and still be making you a profit is irresistible to any business. Incense beauty and sex are The perfect money making machine. In which abuse violence and dishonesty infect purity and will destroy purity if not cut out from the roots. Well things change maybe in our lifetimes but Theresa May has other things on her mind.

    1. You’re absolutely correct. But we must continue to enlighten and expose those exploiting offenders, one by one, for what they truly are. Whether it be a corporation, politician, celebrity or anyone of any supposed standing. This must apply to the likes of Theresa May, and her successors, notwithstanding those “other things on their mind”. Thanks for your input.?

  2. Thanks for highlighting the issue. We don’t think about what happens behind the scenes when we see cute kids in ads or in catalogues.

  3. I always thought idealistically that child models were accompanied by a parent or chaperone to assignments. This article has exposed a risky side to child modelling which I hadn’t considered. I always thought that industry adults would have protected the young and preserved their innocence. How wrong I’ve been.

    1. There is nothing wrong with child models looking exactly like that … Child models. Make-up used on child models to make them look far from innocent is unacceptable and we must protect our children from unwanted attention. If we don’t who will?

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