Those of us in the arts and entertainment industry know how to smell a rat when we see one, and one of the most obvious ‘hooks’ used by suspicious businesses/individuals is the promise of making lots of money with no experience needed.
However, for children, teens and young people, ads such as these can be alluring – particularly if they need money fast, and haven’t yet built much job experience.
It’s no surprise that most of the time, these types of ads are either a scam, or an advert for sexual services – and while you might expect to see them online, would you expect your child to be exposed to them on a supposedly reputable site such as SEEK.com.au?
Indeed, this is exactly where the above ad was found.
It was August last year when I first came across a ‘models wanted’ advert, offering extreme amounts of money to teen boys/young men for – you guessed it – no required experience.
Jumping onto the advertiser’s website (let’s call them ‘SS’), I noticed there was – unsurprisingly- a real lack of information about who their company were and what they offered. Likewise, their social media also showed little information, with barely any engagement or followers – so I decided to do a reverse Google image search of the teen boys featured on their page.
In barely any time at all, I was lead to another social media account with the exact same images – only this time, the young boys were advertised with terms such as ‘youthful’, ‘fresh faced’, ‘milky skin’ and ‘twink’ (a gay slang word that refers to slender, underdeveloped young men with ‘little to no body hair’).
Digging further online, I discovered that not only was the ABN of ‘SS’ also connected to gay pornographic services, but that some of the images used on Facebook were censored versions of the real photographs – which featured older men performing sexual services on the young men.
When I decided to confront the ‘modelling’ studio on the fact that they were luring young men – including teen boys – into gay porn by pretending to be a photography studio, I was called a slut and told by a man named Daniel Smith to ‘shut the fuck up.’
“We want cock and these boys get paid to offer it up!” he wrote.
You’d think this would be enough evidence for SEEK to remove the ad; however, even after supplying much of this information last August, I was told that they were satisfied the company provided legitimate modelling, and that they would therefore reinstate the ad.
When the ad popped up again this month, I was told by SEEK’s Customer Service Fraud and Compliance Analyst, Sarah Grigg, to contact the ACCC instead. Only when I mentioned that the police had been notified – along with organisations such as Childwise – did they then change their tune – eventually, removing the ad.
However, the fight to prevent ads of this nature being uploaded continues, as I again found the ad listed only a few days later (after reporting it again, the ad was swiftly removed). SEEK have vowed to try to do more to prevent this business from getting around their systems in the future, but it has to be said – why did they allow a gay pornographic service to falsely advertise to teenage boys in the first place?
There are millions of online sites where people can seek, or sell, sexual services. Teen boys should not be being targeted on a mainstream employment website.
Have you noticed advertisements of this nature on SEEK? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to let them know.