report Suspected Human Trafficking

The fashion industry is one of the largest abusers of human trafficking with an estimated 170 million children that are engaged in child labor, making textiles, and garments to meet the consumer demands in the U.S. and abroad. Sadly, models also fall prey to human and sex trafficking.

At its core, human trafficking involves recruiting, moving or harboring a person, either by use of force, deception or coercion for the purpose of exploitation and financial gain. One common myth is that human trafficking victims are always taken by force. While this may be true for some cases, in reality, traffickers use methods of deception and manipulation to attract unassuming victims. The process includes grooming which typically starts with establishing a friendship or relationship. Trust is gained and false promises are made, before exploitation happens. The grooming process sounds an awful lot like the development process for modeling agencies, doesn't it?

Another method used in human trafficking is debt bondage, a controlled way to keep people trapped in a trafficking situation for extended periods of time. People are forced to work to repay a real or perceived debt with ridiculous interest rates or fees that continues to grow with no hope of being free of it that is typical incurred through their travel or employment. Some agencies will cover a models travel and even put them in a model apartment that the model must eventually pay back, all of which is legit...however, a trafficker knows this and an unprepared model with no support system can easily be taken advantage of and fall prey to human trafficking.

We are constantly being bombarded by glamorous images the flaunting expensive lifestyles only enhance feelings of isolation for those experiencing poverty and create the desire for a better life which is where the traffickers find some of their victims. Traffickers know people who live in impoverished conditions will accept offers of work, seeing it as an opportunity to improve their own lives and support their families. Vulnerable young people fall into human trafficking when the promise of a successful modelling careers proves too tempting to resist worldwide.

(DE-FI) Models Agency strongly believes that if we educate our talent, it empowers them and gives them a voice. Education, knowledge, support, and accountability are power and the core of our business. We teach our models the dos and don'ts of the industry that many new models aren't aware of as well as the important skills to master, and pitfalls to avoid.

We will continue to host optional Model Talk Series, however, the Model Talk Series on Human Trafficking and and Sexual Harassment will be required for all models signed to (DE-FI) Models. Prevention, Rights, and Responsibilities must be understood. We will also continue to work with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Human Trafficking Taskforce liaisons who have previously trained our models on recognizing, understanding, and reporting suspected Human Trafficking.

As a direct result of this training and based on the recommendations of the Sheriffs Tonya Folks, we have set up additional in-house safe guards as well as a phone number for anonymous reporting of questionable practices within the Fashion Community in the State of Ohio. You can safely and privately report, or request assistance with, work related problems, instances of harassment, abuse, or any such sort of unwanted or inappropriate conduct to 937-567-0824 or you can also complete this form below.

We offer (6) Professional Development Model Talk Series workshops that will cover an array of subjects.

Models will learn:

1) Safety Tips The Dangers and realness of Human Trafficking led by the Montgomery County Human Trafficking Taskforce

2) Recognizing, combating and overcoming Sexual Harassment led by a State of Ohio Civil Rights Investigator Recognizing Red Flags from predators and predatory practices that prey on models aspirations ***You can safely and anonymously report any unwanted or inappropriate conduct related to your modeling experience***

3) Foundation Building Learning, developing, and growing self-worth Health and wellness

4) Developing and recognizing the need of a healthy and strong support system

5) Understanding Contracts, Releases, and Agreements State Laws Reviews Negotiating terms and conditions for work

6) Posing and Runway Understanding lighting Posing and Runway(it's not about you, it's about the product) Catwalk: Developing your signature walk Submissions Agency selections Castings Call Best Practices

As a result of these trainings models have shared disturbing reports of inappropriate conduct during photoshoots and runway events and even agency related issues. Sadly, the State of Ohio has no comprehensive laws dedicated to protecting models or any other entertainment talent which leaves many at risk and no recourse and leaves the doors open to no accountability or repercussions for the predator.

The closest laws that models and other entertainment based talent can fall back on is related to Independent Contractors. This is NOT sufficient enough and we MUST change the laws. Sexual harassment, abuse, and assault are NOT a part of the process, it’s against the law and will NOT be tolerated! No model should feel pressured to participate in situations that they are uncomfortable with doing.

Through the anonymous reporting we will work to assist models with inappropriate conduct, agency issues, and other work related problems related to the fashion industry in Ohio including:

a) Vague accounting practices

b) One-sided agreements

c) Payment delays

d) Non-responsive representation

Information gathered will also help us have a better understanding of just how vast the problems within the regional fashion industry are as we begin the next steps in working with our legislators in developing and introducing proposals for legislation to protect models and other entertainment talent in Ohio.

We cannot provide legal advice, however, if your issues require the assistance of an attorney please visit

To report suspect Human Trafficking and you are in Montgomery County, please contact the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Human Trafficking Taskforce Directly at 937-225-4357 or .

If you are outside of Montgomery County you can call the National Human Trafficking Resources Center at 1-888-373-7888.

Additional resources include:

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Human Trafficking Taskforce:

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission

The American Civil Liberites Union of Ohio


Be as detailed as possible with your reporting, if you are able, include dates, times, location, witnesses, etc. Please understand that while your reporting will be anonymous, we are required to uphold the law. If we believe a crime has been committed, we will report our concerns to the proper authorities for them to investigate.