Aspiring models as young as 13 were victims of the biggest ever fake modeling agent sexploitation.
A man lured girls into posing nude with offers of modeling jobs and then blackmailed them into taking part in sex sessions over Skype. According to reports, hundreds of girls across the globe were lured into sending nude pictures to the man. The man targeted victims through Facebook, Skype and other social media sites posing as a legitimate modeling agent linked to some of the most famous names in the industry.
Authorities were alerted to the “sexploitation” plot by the Models Agents Managers Association (MAMA), a European lobbying group formed to improve regulation in the industry. The group set up a hotline after being contacted by several victims and began tracking the suspect through a number of websites he set up to entice wannabe models.
The man would promise girls modeling jobs, then tell them they had to pose naked during “casting” sessions carried out via webcam, according to police reports. If a girl refused, he would tell them he already had their image and would send versions altered using Photoshop to porn websites. The blackmail would even force victims to participate in virtual sex with the suspect.
Girls brave enough to say no to the pervert were harassed with messages threatening to send nude pictures to the family and freiends. Many felt so trapped by the harassment that they felt suicidal. After a three year investigation with the FBI, Interpol, and the National Crime Agency, the suspect was arrested in Turkey. According to the Turkish National Police the man was known as E. Ciftci.
Hundreds of girls are believed to have fallen victim to the predator in countries including the United States, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, France, Romania, Italy and the UK. Victims range in age as young as 13 to mid 20s. The sexual predator created several convincing websites posing as an established and acclaimed agent or agency to trick them. Other times, he would steal the identities of some of the biggest names in the industry.
From The Mirror:
British firm VIVA Model Management, based in London and Paris, confirmed they were aware of a fake agent claiming to represent the company, sometimes using the name of founder Cyril Brule.
Director Natalie Hand told the Mirror: “It’s a frightening situation and it happens more than you think.
“We are aware of this fake agent and we’ve had to get our French lawyers involved.
“Our advice would be – always check that someone claiming to be an agent is legitimate.
“If they say they are from a company, call up and make sure they can verify the information.”
The suspect is currently awaiting a court date while police analyse his computer, hard drive and phone for evidence.
According to The Mirror, here is a typical fake agent email:
Hello, how are you doing?
I hope that you are doing well. My name is Chris and I am the owner of a model agency. Currently I am travelling around and looking for new faces to represent xxxx
Your appearance might fit to us for the next swimsuit catalog shooting. I would like to seek your permission to allow us to use your photo for the next swimsuit catalog shooting.
I am asking you this because we need a good quality photos like yours. We will send you a copy after all this is done.
Please let me know if you are interested in my offer, because for now I am very interested in working with you. Moreover, it is a great possibility to earn more than a $2000.
If you agreed, I am going to come over at your place, so we could talk about the details and if this go good, I would ask you to sign a contract. However, there is one requirement before I come over there, we have to see how you look like on the webcam.
We require our applicant to have a skype account.
This is our website for you to get more information about us. Please, as soon as possible let us know whether you are interested in working with us as a model.
xxxxx (link to fraudulent site)
As you can see, the agency is located in Milano and I will be glad to work with you. I would like to offer a job to you in Milan.
We work on a modelling, advertisement and commercial film area. This is a serious proposal and I would prefer to talk to people face to face in real life. I will come over there and we will talk all the detail face to face.
Some people can use a programme for the photos and videos. That is why, I need to make sure from you on the webcam ,before the meeting.
Note: You don’t need to pay money for a visa, flight and accommodation. You will be flown all expenses paid for the flight and hotel accommodation for a professional photo shoot session.
What do you think? If you want, you can contact me through this address xxxx