Cairo’s Criminal Court sentenced Egyptian TikTok influencer Haneen Hossam, convicted of human trafficking, to three years in prison and a fine of EGP 200,000 on Monday.
Haneen Hosam was accused of exploiting girls for money via social media platforms, where she encouraged her followers to shoot live videos in exchange for money. She denied the charges.
According to the court’s investigations, Haneen incited the young girls to prostitution, as she encouraged them to meet strangers through video chats and establish relationships to obtain extra income during the lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In June, 2021, the court sentenced Hossam to 10 years in addition to fines of EGP 200,000 each, despite being released in February after posting bail. In response, Hossam posted a video on social media pleading for President Sisi’s support, denying all charges against her.
It is expected that a written verdict that explains the reasons for the reduced sentence will be released within days, Mahmoud Hider of the Regional Centre for Rights and Liberties told The National.
Hider added that the judge reduced the sentence owing to Hossam’s age and naivete.
Hossam is among a number of other women TikTok content creators who were arrested over the course of 2020 over similar charges, namely violating Egyptian family values, under provisions of the country’s 2018 cybercrime law.
This wave of arrests has been condemned by women’s rights activists and human rights organizations, noting that it discriminates against women from low income backgrounds.
Nehad Aboul Qomsan, women’s rights activist, said their arrest was based on a vague interpretation of Egypt’s Anti-Cyber and Information Technology Crimes law prohibiting content that “violates Egyptian family values”.
“There are no clear guidelines on exactly what kind of content offends Egyptian family values. It is decided on a case-by-case basis, which is not only unjust but very worrying for the future of women in Egypt.”