Philippines jails two Swedes for life over cybersex

Two Swedish men were jailed for life in the Philippines for human trafficking after they were found running a cybersex den in which nude women performed for Internet clients, authorities said on Wednesday.

Bo Stefan Sederholm, 31, and Emil Andreas Solemo, 35, were given the unprecedented convictions on Tuesday in what the judge presiding over the case and the government said should deliver a warning to all human traffickers.

"Disrespect for Filipino women and violations of our laws deserve the strongest condemnations from this court," judge Jeoffre Acebido said in his ruling, according to the clerk of the court, Nelison Salcedo.

"It will not shirk from its duty to impose the most severe of penalties against anybody, be he a foreign national or a citizen of this country, who tramples upon the dignity of a woman by taking advantage of her vulnerability."

Salcedo told AFP the two Swedes were arrested when police raided a commercial building in the tiny southern Philippine town of Kauswagan in April 2009 and found 17 naked Filipinas before computer screens.

The women were given 15,000 pesos ($350) a month to act at the bidding of online clients who paid by credit card.

"Once the client has paid for a private show, anything goes," said Salcedo, adding the women used sex toys.

Cybersex dens have become a growing problem in the impoverished Philippines, according to law enforcers and social workers. Police have raided dozens in recent years and made many arrests.

But Salcedo said the ruling was a Philippine landmark because it was the first time a court had convicted anyone for their involvement in cybersex operations.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima hailed the ruling and said it was part of a broader campaign against human traffickers that was launched last year after the US government placed the Philippines on a watchlist.

"The conviction sends a strong warning to other violators," de Lima told AFP. "This is part of our intensified, gung-ho efforts versus human trafficking as we continue to aspire for delisting from (US) Tier 2 watchlist."

The US government says being on its Tier 2 watchlist means a country is not fully complying with minimum standards for eliminating human trafficking, and a further deterioration could attract sanctions.

Remmy Rikken, head of the Philippine Commission on Women that advises President Benigno Aquino on women's affairs, said Tuesday's verdict owed much to de Lima's anti-human trafficking crusade.

Rikken said de Lima last year assigned human trafficking cases to a special task force of prosecutors, doing away with the previous practice of letting provincial prosecutors handle cases.

"Before that there would be a lot of arrests but there were no convictions at all," Rikken told AFP.

The task force tracks all types of human trafficking, including women and children being forced into prostitution or as subjects for pornography.

Rikken said that, before Tuesday's verdicts, 42 people had been convicted on human trafficking charges over the past two months but that none of them were for cybersex-related activities.

Three Filipinos who were arrested in the raid alongside the Swedes were given 20-year prison terms, according to Salcedo, the court clerk.

The Swedes attracted longer jail sentences because they had set up the operation and the three Filipinos worked for them, Salcedo said.

The five convicts have 15 days to appeal the court ruling, she said.

Par Kageby, senior consular officer for the Swedish embassy in Bangkok that oversees Sweden's consulate in Manila, confirmed the court ruling against the men.

"We learned that they have been convicted and sentenced to life in prison," Kageby said.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Volkswagen opens new showroom along Quezon Avenue
    Volkswagen opens new showroom along Quezon Avenue

    Volkswagen opened a new showroom along Quezon Avenue, which is now the automotive row of Northern Metro Manila.At the Innauguration was Chief Operating Adviser Klaus Schadewald, Branch Manager Bob Anthony Palanca, Volkswagen Philippines: President and CEO John Philip Orbeta and General Manager Nemesio Solomon, Jr. This new showroom has the latest Volkswagen Interactive Showroom applications. ... …

  • The Race to Global Greatness - YGP6
    The Race to Global Greatness - YGP6

    Yamaha Motor Philippines (YMPH) recently held the first leg of the Yamaha Grand Prix 6 at the SM Sta. Rosa compound in Laguna. The racing categories for this year are the following: Automatic Inter-Club RaceUnderbone Inter-Club Race115 Superstock ATVega Force i SuperstockSniper 150 Open UB130 Open UBMio 125 MX i …

  • Volkswagen opens new showroom along Quezon AvenueVolkswagen opened a new showroom along Quezon Avenue, …
    Volkswagen opens new showroom along Quezon AvenueVolkswagen opened a new showroom along Quezon Avenue, …

    Volkswagen opened a new showroom along Quezon Avenue, which is now the automotive row of Northern Metro Manila.At the Innauguration was Chief Operating Adviser Klaus Schadewald, Branch Manager Bob Anthony Palanca, Volkswagen Philippines: President and CEO John Philip Orbeta and General Manager Nemesio Solomon, Jr. This new showroom has the latest Volkswagen Interactive Showroom applications. ... …

  • Nissan launches its “Virtual to Reality” GT Academy here in the Philippines
    Nissan launches its “Virtual to Reality” GT Academy here in the Philippines

    The Filipino Gran Turismo gamer just became eligible to become a Pro Race Car driver as Nissan Philippines Inc. launched its GT Academy here in the Philippines. The object is to find the best Grand Turismo players in both the online qualification process and participating in the live events after which they’ll compete with each other in National Finals to see who gets to attend the 3 month Race camp.  The winner gets to stay in the UK near Silverstone and will take part in UK national and club …

  • Osmeña wants electricity exempted from VAT
    Osmeña wants electricity exempted from VAT

    Sen. Sergio Osmeña III wants electricity to be exempted from value added tax under a proposed measure that will amend the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 and the Reformed VAT Law. He said the move aims to ease the burden of the public in paying high electricity rates in the country. “VAT on electricity is another burden on the already over-taxed shoulders of our people, especially those whose incomes are barely enough to cover their basic needs. Osmeña, chairman of the Senate …

  • No lotto draws starting tomorrow until Easter Sunday
    No lotto draws starting tomorrow until Easter Sunday

    No lotto tickets will be sold and no lotto draws made starting tomorrow, Maundy Thursday, up to Easter Sunday in observance of Holy Week. In a statement, Jose Ferdinand Rojas II, acting Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairman and general manager, said the selling of lotto tickets and lotto draws will resume on April 6,  Monday. “We thank all Lotto players for your trust and confidence in the PCSO games, and we count on your continued support of our efforts to raise funds for …

  • Quake rocks C. Visayas
    Quake rocks C. Visayas

    A magnitude-3.2 earthquake rocked parts of Central Visayas yesterday. State seismologists said the quake was an aftershock of a powerful tremor that hit the region in 2013. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the quake occurred at 7:54 a.m. Its epicenter was located 10 kilometers  southeast of Buenavista, Bohol. Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said the quake was an aftershock of the magnitude-7.2 earthquake that hit Bohol on Oct. 15, 2013. …

  • Super howler nears Phl
    Super howler nears Phl

    A typhoon that has devastated islands in the Pacific is forecast to become a category 5 monster howler as it barrels toward the Philippines this week. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Maysak will be named Chedeng when it enters the Philippine area of responsibility tonight or tomorrow morning. In an interview, PAGASA weather forecaster Gener Quitlong said the forecast track of Maysak may still change depending on the movement of …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options