Turkish police rescue 9 girls in fake Big Brother house
Nine young Turkish women taking part in an "Big Brother"-style television show were too afraid to leave a villa in Istanbul for fear of facing a $33,000 fine each, one contestant said
Nine young Turkish women taking part in an "Big Brother"-style television show were too afraid to leave a villa in Istanbul for fear of facing a $33,000 fine each, one contestant said on Friday.
Turkish military police raided the villa in Riva, a district of Istanbul this week after receiving a complaint that nine women were being held in confinement for the last two months.
Cameras in the villa with a pool had filmed the women 24 hours a day, providing a live stream of images for Internet users who had paid to access the footage. www.bizevdeyiz.tv
"One of our girls called her mother to save us from here as we could not get out," contestant Buse Kazdal told Reuters TV, adding they managed to borrow a phone from a producer.
"We then packed our bags. We did not know who would come (to rescue us). The mother then called the paramilitary police," said Kazdal.
The nine women answered an advert seeking contestants for a women-only "Big Brother"-style television show. They passed an audition and selection process before entering the house.
The women signed a contract agreeing to stay there for three months and would face a fine of 50,000 lira each if they left early, or had contact with the outside world.
The production company, Zenmobil, denied that the contestants were held against their will or that they were sexually harassed. The organisers did ask them to wear bikinis and dance by the swimming pool.
Kazdal said: "No one was rich enough to pay ... we thought that as we signed the forms for the competition he (producer) would take this money from us (if we left)."
The production company said no charges had been filed against them by the authorities nor were any of their employees under detention. Police had briefly detained some of the crew.
The candy-pink Turkish-language website, still operational, has fan pages and profiles of the girls, where subscribers can send virtual presents to the contestants, chat with them and view them lounging in bikinis by the swimming pool or in their bedrooms. Clicking on the girls profiles opened up images of the women in bikinis, miniskirts posing or exercising.
Reuters Last Mod: 12 Eylül 2009, 15:22