Foreigners targeted in 'model trafficking'
The Department of Employment (DOE) is vowing to take legal action against foreigners who work illegally as models in the country.
The action comes following a complaint by the Thai Modeling Industry and Agencies Association, saying a number of foreign models, both men and women, disguise themselves as tourists and take modelling jobs in Thailand during their stays.
Arak Prommanee, a director-general of the DOE, said the association complained foreign models were taking jobs from Thais.
They were also avoiding paying taxes as they do not obtain work permits.
The foreigners, mostly from Brazil, Israel, the Ukraine and other European countries, are hired by Thai modelling firms.
They sometimes pay foreigners more than 50,000 baht for an hour of shooting.
Mr Arak said models caught working here could face face a jail term of up to five years or a fine of 2,000-100,000 baht or both.
Agencies which are found to be employing foreign models illegally will be fined 10,000-100,000 baht for each worker.
Some foreign embassies in Thailand had made inquiries as some of their citizens, working illegally as models in Thailand, were aged under 18.
Their families were afraid there was a risk they could be lured into criminal activities.
However, he did not say whether the government will ask for cooperation from the embassies in discouraging their citizens from taking such jobs.
Mr Arak said the department will work with the association to campaign against hiring foreigners as models. It will also raise public awareness about the need to run a modeling business legally.