Swedes sentenced to life in prison for Filipino cyber-brothel

Photo: AFP SCANPIX

Photo: AFP SCANPIX

An appeals court in the Philippines has rejected an appeal by Swedes Stefan Sederholm, 33, and Andrew Solemo, 37, with a request for a new trial. They are now left several more years in prison before the Supreme Court may take up the case.

The Swedes were sentenced to life in prison on May 10, 2011, convicted of trafficking.

Sederholm and Solemo had along with three Filipino citizens launched a so-called cyber-brothel with operations in an industrial park outside the city of Cagayan de Oro.

Operations began in early 2009. Some 20 Filipino women were hired to pose naked and masturbate in front of webcams with customers paying to watch worldwide. The customers would buy time with the women and express their desire for sexual activities. The women were paid about SEK 2500 per month, equivalent to the salary of a regular office job in the Philippines.

As early as April 23, 2009, the police raided the business and three Filipino men were arrested. The Swedes were arrested when they arrived by plane to the Philippines on the same day. This type of online sexual service is not illegal in the Philippines but when the police raided the cyber brothel, one of the women claimed that she was posing in front of the camera against her will.

Arrested in May, 2009, now charged with human trafficking, the two Swedes were placed in the notorious Lumbia Jail. The trial against the Swedes and the three Filipinos began in February 2011. The sentence came on May 10 of that year: life imprisonment for Andreas Solemo and Stefan Sederholm. The three Filipino citizens received 20 years imprisonment. The two Swedes have since been relocated to the Davao Penal Colony

The Swedes have now turned to the Swedish Foreign Ministry with a request for financial assistance in order to obtain a new lawyer.

The denied request of a new trial will be appealed to the Philippine Supreme Court. A process that takes several years. Meanwhile, Solemo and Sederholm remain in Davao Penal Colony.

Andreas Solemo and Stefan Sederholm consider themselves to be the victims of a political verdict, and believe that the severe punishment is a way for the Philippines to make an example, showing that they come down hard on human trafficking.

“The absolute worst is that we are convicted of a terrible crime, which is very far from the truth. Now we are sitting here for life and quite frankly I am having a hard time seeing that they will ever release us,” said Stefan Sederholm to TV4’s Kalla Fakta last year.

Should the Swedes fail in their appeal, they will be forced to sit somewhere between 20 and 30 years in prison before they might be pardoned.

Source: aftonbladet.se 

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  20 comments for “Swedes sentenced to life in prison for Filipino cyber-brothel

  1. Jason
    February 18, 2016 at 05:14

    Profits generated by one pretty girl are in the thousands per month. A top camgirl can earn up to $100,000 per month in the USA. A top studio makes more than a Million dollars per month. Top cam sites like myfreecams and streamate make a million dollars per DAY! LiveJasmin even more than that. These Swedes knew what they were doing. Filipinas are pretty, speak English and work for peanuts. This could have been a gold mine. Had the government not acted they could have seen the emergence of a new industry that was well organized and growing rapidly. That’s the reason why they made an example of these two poor fellas.

  2. zjohonovich
    October 5, 2015 at 08:17

    other scams exist—a friend of mine was in a bar in manilla. He took a girl (over 18) to his room at the hotel. on the way, the girl met up with another girl (her sister) and wanted to know if the “sister” could take a shower. the man agreed. no sooner than the “sister” got naked and in the shower, the police bust in, the “sister” stated she was only 15. for having her naked in his room,his family had to pay the police, the judge, the prosecutor. total cost $100,000 us and two years in jail while waiting to raise the funds. phillipines is definitly a scam on unsuspecting tourists. DO NOT GO!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Chelo
    May 19, 2015 at 15:00

    This is unfair…and yes there is no justice here in the Philippines. Government is too lousy and Justice? i don’t know you cant find it here..its like waiting for santa clause every december that doesn’t even exist. MONEY is the only thing matter to them and oh! of course power! and for those who said that “this foreigners should die or be convicted for life because they did this kind of business” if you really read well the article above it says there that it is not ILLEGAL, the only problem was there is 1 girl who said that she was forced to do the job..which is kind a stupid.. i mean in first place i think she already knew what kind of “job” she’ll going to do and if she don’t like it she can decline or just ignore the job as simple as that..and maybe the foreigners will not waste there time forcing just ONE girl who is not willing to do the job! It’s not that because they are foreigners doing business in the Philippines they are already guilty..JUSTICE should be fair to everyone its either foreigner or filipino..

  4. cicero
    September 15, 2014 at 00:18

    The girls were only held against their will by the police here. This is the common extortion strategy. Any Philipino will tell you they are the most malicious people in the world. Philippines the gates of hell for foreigners and Philipino are like. Why do you think so many wish to emigrate.

  5. john smith
    March 1, 2014 at 13:35

    “rescued” girls we’re back in the bars the very next day. The case is full of lies from not only the police, but most of the judges the case ‘went through, and the one honest judge who dismissed the case and let them go was removed

    • john smith
      March 1, 2014 at 13:40

      The dismissal was overturned itnto a conviction even tho the hacketts were already in America.

  6. john smith
    March 1, 2014 at 13:27

    In 2004 they did the same to the hacketts. The reality is that was a free school for young people to learn technical support and the real owners of the bars ( governors and senators ) were angry about the girls having a way out of prostitution. The(sflu) locals know the truth and also know

  7. July 6, 2013 at 21:26

    Php 16,000 (roughly) is what these girls were getting paid, per month. That is a good wage in the Philippines, and for something that is NOT, as a previous poster stated, illegal there.

    Not to mention, none of them would end up pregnant. None of them would ever contract venereal diseases either, by that type of work. I cannot think of a safer way for them to perform.

    Unfortunately for these two men, someone either wanted more money that they were not willing to pay, or they pissed someone off in some other way. Either way, it isn’t difficult for a Filipino (in business) to cause trouble for foreigners, if they wish to do so.

    The sad part is, this also causes investors to stop considering the Philippines as a location for their legitimate business. This will hinder the growth of the Philippines, I am afraid, for many years to come.

    Over my years in the Philippines, I saw many guys lose enormous amounts of money in the Philippines. After living there for more than a decade, I certainly would not consider investing there, even in a home. That will never happen.

    With the above said, I still love the Philippines very much. It will always be my home. You just have to play the game by their rules. If you do not, as the foreigner, you will be the one to pay.

    Paul Petrea

  8. Curiouswhy
    July 5, 2013 at 17:29

    Take a look at this facebook page. These are the woman that worked at the cam studio in question. Do they look like they were forced to work or signs of human trafficking?
     
    https://www.facebook.com/everybodyneedsfreedom/photos_stream
     
    Here is what they don’t tell you.
     
    1. Working as a camgirl in the Philippines is not illegal.
    2. Only one of the 20 women stated that she was forced to work which is a total lie.
    3. The truth is this one girl as ashamed and lied to her husband what she did for work but she didn’t leave. Once he found out, they contacted a TV show called Bitag who then contacted the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation).
    4. The police promised her free education and money if she would sign their statement that she was forced to work and stripped naked. Even in court she mentioned that the Swedes were nothing but nice to her.
    5. The 2 other women (Shift managers)  in Jail as part of the 5 were also offered the same deal but they would not sign the statement as they said it was lies against the 2 Swedes, they had done nothing wrong  so the 2 women were sent to jail too.
    6. All the girls had rooms a few miles away from the studio where they slept between shifts.
    7. All women were over the age of 18. Before they could work, they had to produce evidence of age via a passport or their birth certificate. This was necessary proof required by the external cam companies of which they were models for.
    8. At no time whatsoever where any minors working in the studio even though the papers presumed the possibility.
    9. All women were free to come and go as they pleased.
    10. All rooms where tastefully decorated, had piped music, they had breaks when they wanted and had a fridge for their food and and snacks.
    11. Every Friday the women were treated to a night out on the town as shown in the face book pictures. 
    12. On their days off they would often go to the beach or get their hair done.
    13. They were earning as much as 40,000+ pesos per month, as much as a trained doctor.
    14. Most were ex bar girls that were often beaten and abused as working prostitutes and were more than happy to be cam girls working in a safe and clean environment.
    15. When possible, they would ask to come back month after month as they enjoyed the work.
    16. The job allowed them to send good money back home to their family, eat well and buy the clothes they always wanted.
    17. How can the two swedes be accused of human trafficking when inside philippines borders?
    18. The women made their own way to Cagayan De Oro and at no time were they accompanied to the studio. They were met at CDO airport and taken to their rooms ready to start work as they had already been explained what they should do having been met in their home town or recruited by one of the other cam girls which they were paid commission for their efforts.
    19. The 2 Swedes were illegally taken at gunpoint from their hotel to the studio then arrested as the police only had a warrant to arrest them at the cam studio premises.
    20. The police falsified the arrest times as it has been proven by the flight manifest that one of the top reporters present at the arrest was already on the plane back to Manilla at the time the police logged the arrest.
    21. The crime of Human trafficking takes 5 people otherwise it cannot be human trafficking. Hence the police arrested the 2 Swedes, 2 shift manager woman and one of the worker men to make the case stick. 
    22. All the other girls were threatened if they did not sign a damaging statement against the 5 arrested, they would also be added as part of the human trafficking crew.
    23. The police forcibly placed the women into care. The parents of seventeen of the eighteen girls removed them from the government social services because they were being held there against their will as propaganda for the media to show the women we’re being “taken care of”.
    24. Nine of these filed a case against the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) for Habeus Corpus and for forcing them to testifying against the accused under threats of imprisonment with the accused.
    25. Three of the defence witnesses were girls who worked in the studio during the raid.
    26. The three testified in court that they had been forced by the NBI to sign a complaint and agree to testify against the accused.
    27. Many of the documents that proved their innocence were lost or forgotten at the time of the case thus allowing the police to make any statement they wanted.

Please take a look at the following letter sent to the UN for additional information.



    https://www.facebook.com/notes/release-the-five/letter-addressed-to-the-united-nations/302470183160707

    

Let the facts be known.

  9. Steve
    July 3, 2013 at 13:21

    For your information Edgar, cybersex is NOT illegal in the Philippines.

    “This type of online sexual service is not illegal in the Philippines but when the police raided the cyber brothel, one of the women claimed that she was posing in front of the camera against her will.”

    I would like to see a transcript of the trial. It seems fishy.

  10. July 2, 2013 at 17:35

    if those two sh__ty swedes came to the philippines to do illegal work in the first place, they wouldn’t have suffered. such stupidity and greed. that’s what i’m seeing here.

    • Willy B. Stellander
      July 5, 2013 at 09:59

      I agree!

    • john
      March 17, 2014 at 07:20

      the article clearly states that their activities are NOT illegal. they were only arrested because 1 of the girls says she was forced to do it.

  11. ANDRE
    July 2, 2013 at 15:10

    hmm very fishy the story always the same Foreigners? god sake the girls of course did agree but someone did DOB them in now they has make good money ,not actually sex but his fine for the girls bars too have sex with foreigners huhuhhhu the law so stupid anywhere all those pig judge and lawyers are mafia so they are going too milk money has much they can before they has another trial.welcome too the PHILIPPINES.

  12. July 2, 2013 at 11:34

    Obviously, they are used as an example to profile a political agenda. In the meantime, their camgirls who were conveniently working inside a safe studio return to the street where they are forced to work as prostitutes – mostly without condoms – for very little reward. This verdict does not serve justice to anybody.

  13. July 1, 2013 at 20:29

    This is bull !!!! Of course the girls are not going to admit to doing this on their own accord. This is for 2 reasons 1 they will try to get extra money for nothing by suing these guys and 2. peer pressure, the church, family etc etc etc. Everyone knowing what they were doing would bring shame to them and their family for life.

    The Philippines has no idea what to do, the Church insists they do 1 thing even if its legally wrong, the Government knows nothing, they don’t even rule, its ruled by 5 Filipino families who do whatever they want whenever they want. Most don’t even spend much time in the shi…ty country, they would be killed (real religious people where they kill people for USD$100). All the government is interested in is how much money they will make while in office. This is local policeman all the way up: Councilors, Barangay Captains, Mayors, senators etc etc etc.

    People, don’t go to the Philippines unless you have something specific to do. If they can they will steal all of your money and then accuse you of something you didn’t do and lock you up. Hopefully, they think, they will get big buck from your home government.

    This country went from the pearl of the orient to the joke of the orient immediately after Marcos was kicked out. They have been going downhill ever since. Be warned everyone, they are all crooks and thieves, thats why “its more fun in the Philippines” NOT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Willy B. Stellander
      July 5, 2013 at 09:58

      I have been living in the Philippines for 14 years now and never had a problem here. A general statement like this is not fair to either Filipinos or forigners.

    • Bencito Reyes
      July 14, 2014 at 10:10

      Hope they wil die in jail,
      stupid forginers!
      Think they can behave like kings.

      • ed
        February 3, 2015 at 20:13

        Well Bencito… there were 3 Filipinoś involved in it as well, but I guess that doesnt count?

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