Two women have been jailed for a combined 16 years for “human trafficking” by encouraging women to use TikTok to earn money.
Haneen Hossam and Mawada al-Adham were jailed for 10 years and six years respectively in Egypt and have been hit with a £9,191 fine.
They were charged with human trafficking because their social media profiles were supposedly designed to encourage young women to also join video sharing platforms and post inappropriate content.
They were also accused of “corrupting family values”, “inciting debauchery” and “encouraging young women to practice sexual relations”, according to Al-Adham’s lawyer Saber Sokker.
The pair’s numerous dance videos, two of which are shown above, were believed to be part of the bizarre case against the pair.
Hossam, prosecutors claimed, incited “debauchery” by making a post offering women aged over 18 years the chance to work from home by making live videos and talking to strangers.
She defended her post in another video before her arrest, asking: “There are famous actors that use TikTok. Does this mean they work in prostitution?”
Both women can appeal their decisions.
The two TikTokers were arrested last year and sentenced to two years in jail for “attacking society’s values” in videos posted on their social media.
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An appeals court acquitted the duo in January.
Their new sentences have provoked further outrage amid a worrying trend in Egypt to remove “provocative” content from social media channels that are seen as contradicting Muslim morals.
Several belly dancers and pop singers have been targeted in recent years.
Human rights groups say freedoms are being curbed under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who seized power in a military coup in 2014.
The country introduced its cybercrime laws in 2018, which criminalise practices that violate family values, despite not providing clear parameters for what constitutes such an offence.
Activists claim that the vague legal codes lead to unfair treatment of women and allow the authorities to police women’s bodies.
Egyptian feminist Ghadeer Ahmed said the arrest of TikTok stars in Egypt had become a common phenomenon.
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