Coco Rocha speaks at a press conference to celebrate new Underage Model Law in New York

Coco Rocha leads the celebrations at a press conference for the Underage Model Law in New York

A new law enforcing the protection of underage models has been passed in New York, marking a big step forward in the fashion industry.

Coco Rocha celebrated the verdict in the Big Apple yesterday, as child models were granted the same rights, including health and education care, as young actors and singers

Sara Ziff, the founder and executive director of the Model Alliance – a non-profit watchdog that aims to protect the rights of models – began campaigning to pass the Underage Model Bill back in June.

Coco joined other models and industry names in supporting the campaign, which will take effect in New York on 20 November.

“I know all too well that, until now, underage models have worked with very few legal protections in New York,” she said at the press conference for the new child labour bill.

She added: “When I started modeling (at 15), I traveled to many different place alone, without a chaperone or any real legal rights. I’m so glad that’s changing for children – any they are children – in the future.”

The new law stipulates the following guidelines:

1. A responsible person will be designated to monitor the activity and safety for each child performer under the age of 16 in the workplace.

2. Employers must provide a nurse with paediatric experience as well as health and safety information.

3. An education requirement decrees that employers must provide teachers and a dedicated space for instruction.

4. A financial trust must be established by a child model's parent or guardian into which an employer must transfer at least 15 per cent of the child's gross earnings.

Congratulations to Sara, Coco and everyone involved in campaigning for the bill!

By Jessica Bridgeman

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