Filipino groups in Hong Kong have been urged to stop organizing beauty contests in light of a scandal over leaked photographs distributed online of almost-nude contestants posed in a bar.

The photos showed 10 contestants in a contest called “Miss Hot Babes 2018” in flimsy red negligees posing onstage, sunwebhk.com reported.

The contest was held in a bar in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island on November 18.

The Philippines’ labor attaché in Hong Kong, Jalilo dela Torre, said he was against such contests especially if they involved indecent exposure, and asked the Filipino groups in the city stop staging such events.

He said he had contacted the show’s organizer and she issued a public apology on Facebook the next day. He also talked to Leo Selomenio of Global Alliance, one of the major federations of Filipino groups in the city. The group agreed to stop organizing beauty contests, dela Torre said.

He said he would report the case to Consul General Antonio Morales so that the consulate could call a  meeting of the Filipino community in Hong Kong to address the issue, hongkongnews.com.hk reported.

Dela Torre said it was not just that pageant contestants faced the danger of exploitation but, often, these beauty contests also ended up heaping additional financial burdens on Filipino domestic workers.

Selomenio admitted that some domestic workers had been getting in debt because they spent a lot on the contests, probably around HK$5,000 (US$640) for the enrollment fee, hair and makeup stylists, personal videographers and the gowns and other outfits they are required to wear during the pageant.

He said it was unfortunate that what started out as just a fun way of raising easy funds for many groups had degenerated into a money-making venture for organizers, often at the expense of women desperate to gain recognition.

The Mindanao Federation has pledged support for banning beauty fests, while a group of Christian pastors is said to be in the process of issuing a public statement criticizing those who organize such contests.

Read: Domestic workers in HK warned against indecent online posts