11 Sep 2009

Duped women rescued from TV villa

4:06 pm on 11 September 2009

Military police in Turkey have stormed a villa in Istanbul to rescue nine women who thought they were contestants in a reality TV show.

The BBC reports they believed they were being filmed for a version of the hit-show Big Brother.

Family members became concerned they were being prevented from contacting the women.

According to local media, naked images of them were sold on the internet.

HaberTurk newspaper reports they were also told to fight each other, wear bikinis and dance by the pool.

The duped contestants are said to be aged between 16 and 24.

The mother of one of the women told the newspaper they were not abused or sexually harassed.

Dogan news agency reports they had responded to an advert seeking contestants for a reality show that would be aired on a major Turkish television station.

Contracts signed

They were reportedly made to sign a contract that banned them from any outside contact and ordered them to pay a 50,000 Lira ($US33,000) fine if they left the show before two months.

The women are said to have realised they were being duped soon after moving into the villa, in the summer resort of Riva on the outskirts of Istanbul.

Dogan reports they were told they would have to pay the fine if they wanted to leave.

Police are still searching for the leader of the gang.