Copyright 2014

ACWF Decries Nude Photo Collateral of Female University Students

Online loan sharks in China have found an unconventional way of guaranteeing loans - they demand female college students send nude photos of themselves holding their ID cards as collateral for high-interest loans, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported on June 27.

The private lenders threaten to make the photos public or send them to the women#39;s parents if they fail to repay their loans on time.

One of the borrowers told the newspaper that she first borrowed 500 yuan (US$ 75) from an online loan provider with a weekly interest rate of 30 percent.

She kept taking out new loans to pay off old ones and her debt snowballed to 55,000 yuan (US$ 8,300) when the lender demanded a nude photo of her as a guarantee for new loans.

The report soon caused a sensation online, attracting a lot of attention.

The All-China Women#39;s Federation (ACWF), the largest women-focused NGO in China, recently issued an announcement about the phenomenon.

Demanding nude photos as loan collateral is illegal and it should be cracked down on, the organization claimed.

Such #39;nude photo collateral#39; reflects that some web-based lenders need strengthened supervision. To force female university students to pay exorbitant interest rates with nude pictures constitutes an invasion of personal privacy and even blackmail,read the document.

Cyberspace is not a lawless place. We call upon public security departments, financial regulation authorities and internet supervision institutions, among many others, to resolutely fight against such illegal online loans among college students, said the ACWF officials.

Meanwhile, female university students should have rational consumption and live within their means, it was suggested. Once finding yourself under threat, ask for help from your teacher, parents or classmates, or call the police when necessary, the announcement instructed.

Furthermore, the ACWF criticized the inappropriate behavior of some media outlets using pictures of the female students without covering their faces and ID information. The officials advocated that media professionals respect the privacy of the victims and protect them from further harm caused by improper reports.

China Women#39;s News, the official newspaper of the ACWF, stressed that loans must be sought from official financial institutions. Females in need may apply for small loans offered by the ACWF to help women#39;s employment and entrepreneurship, the reporter recommended.

As of March 2016, the ACWF#39;s charity project has granted government-subsidized loans totaling around 268 billion yuan (US$ 40.3 billion), benefiting over 5.24 million women around the country.

(Source: Women#39;s Voice/Translated and edited by Women of China)