Swedish modeling agencies are facing criticism for soliciting new talent by lurking outside specialized eating disorder clinics.
Staff members at the Stockholm Center for Eating Disorders said that they have seen modeling agents approach teenage patients who are leaving the center.
"We think this is repugnant," said Anna-Maria af Sandeberg, the center's director and chief physician. "People have stood outside our clinic and tried to pick up our girls because they know they are very thin. It sends the wrong signals when the girls are being treated for eating disorders."
Employees who saw talent scouts talking to the young girls recently contacted local media to alert them about what was going on. In order to cut down on the number of run-ins, Agence France-Presse reported the center has changed its schedule.
Fredo Kazemi, the director of Elite Model Management in Stockholm, called the practice “unethical” and said that he does not think that reputable model agencies would operate in that manner.
Another person with knowledge of the industry had a different viewpoint. Madeleine Lithander, head of a smaller agency in Sweden called Mady Models, said she wasn’t surprised by the practice, according to The Huffington Post.
Eating disorders are very prevalent among fashion models. According to a 2012 study released by Model Alliance, 64.1 percent of models said their agency asked them to lose weight and 31.2 percent said they had an eating disorder.