The beauty contest Miss Grand International takes passports of participants illegally

For the back story into this story please read here (Reykjavík Grapevine) and here (Ví Magazine).

It seems that the beauty contest Miss Grand International (Wikipedia, information might not be fully accurate or up to date) [Information about the 2016 contest can be found here on Wikipedia] takes hold of passports of the girls how are taking part in it. According to the news in Icelandic here (Ví it took Arna Ýr Jóns­dótt­ir a lot of effort to get her Icelandic Passport back as the owners of Miss Grand International demanded US$3000 for the release of the passport. It was only after security guards got involved they released the passport without payment for it. Since the security guards (according to the news) explained to the owners of Miss Grand International that holding the passport like this was in fact illegal and they released after they threatened to get to police in Los Angles involved into this case. The owner of Miss Grand International is Nawat Itsaragrisil (Wikipedia, information might not be fully accurate or up to date).

It is illegal to hold passports like this and demand money for their release. Nobody can be forced to release their passport to contest like this, as passport are form of ID and they often hold information like VISA clearance and other things that are necessary if people need to identify them with authorities. They should never be in the hands of beauty contest owners like is happening here. Since I’m sure this is not a isolated incident, what I’m also sure is that other contesters passports have been taken until the end of the beauty contest (26-October-2016). What I’m sure of is that authorities in the U.S need to investigate this behaviour and beauty contest, since taking people passport from them is illegal and demanding money for the passport return is even more illegal.