Egyptian TikTokers Haneen Hossam, Mawada Eladhm referred to criminal court over ‘human trafficking’ charges

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Sunday 14 Mar 2021

The prosecution said the accused tiktokers exploited - as part of a criminal group 'organised' for human trafficking purposes - the victims' 'poor' economic circumstances

Haneen Hossam
Haneen Hossam(L) and Mawda Eladham(R)

Egypt’s prosecution ordered on Sunday the referral of TikTok influencers Haneen Hossam and Mawada Eladhm, alongside others, to the criminal court over “human trafficking” related charges.

Haneen Hossam and Mawada Eladhm, who were arrested last year over various charges after posting clips on the short-video sharing platform, will be facing a trial over human trafficking charges, almost two months after they were acquitted in another case on charges of “violating family values and principles.”

The prosecution accused the two women of human trafficking by “using girls in acts contrary to the principles and values of Egyptian society with the aim of gaining material benefits.”

The prosecution said the accused TikTokers exploited — as part of a criminal group “organised” for human trafficking purposes — the victims’ “poor” economic circumstances and their need for money by promising them a sum of money.

Eladhm, who is in her early 20s, was arrested on 14 May after she fled her residence at an upscale New Cairo gated community, moving around between Cairo and the North Coast after an arrest warrant was issued against her.

Eladhm, who has 3.1 million followers on TikTok and 1.6 million followers on Instagram, gained fame for posting lip syncing and dance videos.

Hossam, a university student who has 1.2 million followers on TikTok, was arrested on 21 April on charges of inciting debauchery and human trafficking.

Her arrest came a few days after she posted a video on TikTok encouraging women to publish live videos and talk with strangers via short video sharing platform Likee in exchange for money.

In late January, a Cairo economic appeals court acquitted Hossam and Eladhm and others of violating family values and principles.

The appeals court overturned a previous court order that handed the two influencers two-year prison terms and a fine of EGP 300,000.

Egyptian authorities arrested last year several female TikTok users who were known for controversial content that authorities describe as “violating family values and principles.”

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