The documentary "Girl Model" is about a nasty bit of business: rural Russian girls as young as 12 being recruited to be models for Japanese fashion magazines, but instead of being paid for their work, they are charged for expenses - so instead of making money to send to their families, they end up accruing a debt.
If it sounds like human trafficking, you may not be far off.
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"So their decision (to sign) is based on deception. Nadya spots one of her test photos in a magazine; she was never paid for her work.
(Nudity, thankfully, is illegal under international law.) Nadya attends a casting call, is discovered by Ashley and signs a contract that guarantees her two modeling jobs and ,000, minus expenses.
Nadya goes to Tokyo, where virtually no one is nice to her, the jobs never materialize and she's stuck with the expenses. " Nadya cries during calls home to her mother and has a roommate, also from Russia, who, like Nadya, is miserable.
The film, by Ashley Sabin and David Redmon, follows two intriguing figures: the sweet and innocent Nadya, 13, and the jaded American talent scout Ashley (not the filmmaker), a former model who lives in a lavish house in Connecticut and shuttles between Siberia and Japan facilitating the transactions between a shady Russian fixer and agents for Japanese fashion magazines.
Japanese magazines - and presumably, their readers - seem to have an obsession with underage girls in provocative fashion spreads.
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