Two Swedes Get Life in Philippines for Running Live Cam Site

MANILA—In a rare sentence that indicates the seriousness with which the Philippine government takes online porn, especially if it involves live sex, a court has sentenced two Swedish nationals to life in prison for running a live cam site in the southern city of Kauswagan. The men were charged with violating human trafficking laws.

Emil Andreas Solemo, 35, and Bo Stefan Sederholm, 31, were sentenced May 6. In addition to the prison time, each was fined 2 million pesos ($46,500). Three Phillipinos arrested during a 2009 raid on the operation each received 20 year sentences.

At the time of the raid, upwards of 20 women were found naked in front of computer monitors, AFP reported, adding, “The women were given 15,000 pesos ($350) a month to act at the bidding of online clients who paid by credit card.”

According to Reuters, “The convictions were the first legal victory in the battle against foreign-operated porn operations in the Philippines, said Lalae Garcia of the Tubaga movement, a women and children rights group on the southern island of Mindanao.

“Law enforcement agencies say cybersex, or providing sexually explicit material over the Internet, is a growing industry in many parts of the world, including in the Philippines, where there is perceived to be a low risk of arrest and high returns,” the wire service reported.

"Disrespect for Filipino women and violations of our laws deserve the strongest condemnations from this court," Judge Jeoffre Acebido said in his ruling. "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."

The five individuals have 15 days in which to appeal their sentences.