A Burmese OnlyFans model has been sentenced to six years in jail for posting “sexually explicit” content, becoming the first online creator in Myanmar to be jailed for her activity on the adult subscription platform, and, according to Vice, potentially the first in the world.
On Tuesday, Nang Mwe San, the 34-year-old doctor turned model, was convicted by a military court for “harming culture and dignity” by exchanging nude photos and videos for money. The government cited a violation of Myanmar’s Electronics Transactions Law, but human rights experts told Vice the charges were politically motivated, considering Nang Mwe San had participated in protests against the military (or junta) who overthrew the democratically elected government in 2021.
Aung Kyaw Moe, a human rights adviser to Myanmar’s National Unity Government, told Vice that her sentencing is a “gross human rights and women rights violation” that’s “targeted and intentional.”
“[She] was the first celebrity to raise their voice and ask the world for justice…after the coup,” he said. “[If] a model like Nang Mwe San is not free to exercise her rights to sell sexy photos, no other woman is free to exercise their rights. The international community must do more to hold the junta to account and protect women and girls in Myanmar.”
Myanmar’s military coup has allowed the junta to further criminalize women’s bodies under the veil of religious conservatism. Nang Mwe San’s medical license was revoked in 2019 after her Facebook photos were deemed “not in line with Myanmar culture.” When she transitioned to full-time on-camera work, she was regularly harassed online.
In a 2020 interview with Vice, Nang Mwe San said, “Women in this country shouldn’t feel bad about what they are doing. Anything you are doing can also be a promotion for the country, then other people will notice your country.”
More than 15,600 people, including lawmakers, journalists, and celebrities, have been arrested since the military takeover in Myanmar, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Thaw Nandar Aung, a Myanmar beauty queen, was recently forced to seek asylum in Canada after she said in a Bangkok pageant that “every citizen of the world wants the prosperity of their country and the peaceful environment. In doing so, the leaders involved should not use their power and selfishness.”
The sentencing of Nang Mwe San comes as women in Iran are protesting the killing of a young woman who was arrested by the “morality police” for wearing her hijab wrong, and women in the U.S. have been stripped of 50 years of abortion rights. Across the world, our freedom is on the line.