A court in the southern Philippines found Bo Stefan Sederholm, 31, and Emil Andreas Solemo, 35, guilty of human trafficking on Tuesday and sentenced both to unprecedented life terms, court clerk Nelison Salcedo told AFP.
“Disrespect for Filipino women and violations of our laws deserve the strongest condemnations from this court,” Salcedo quoted regional trial court judge Jeoffre Acebido as saying 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.”
“Disrespect for Filipino women and violations of our laws deserve the strongest condemnations from this court,” it added.
Salcedo said the two Swedes were arrested when police raided a commercial building in the town of Kauswagan in April, 2009, and found 17 naked Filipinas before computer screens.
According to the Philippine daily Sun Star, many of the women were underage.
The women were paid 15,000 pesos ($350) a month to act at the bidding of online clients who paid by credit card, Salcedo said.
“Once the client has paid for a private show, anything goes,” she said, 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 of cybersex dens in recent years and made many arrests.
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.
Three Filipinos who were also arrested in the raid were given 20-year prison terms, according to Salcedo.
The court found the two Swedes had set up the Internet connection and payment system, while the three Filipinos in the case worked for them, Salcedo said.
The five convicts have 15 days to appeal the court’s ruling, and remain behind bars, 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.