Is Possession Of Childlike Sex Doll A Crime?

by | May 6, 2015 | Miscellaneous | 0 comments

Following the seizure of several sex dolls with childlike features at the borders of some Western countries, plus the ban of several e-Commerce websites such as Amazon of such items, a debate has opened up about the legality of these dolls, which are primarily intended to satisfy pedophile impulses.

Some sectors argue that they should be prohibited, given the possibility that they encourage sexual abuse of children; others argue that it would be advisable to allow them since they would channel the impulses of potential aggressors.

This debate involves the lawmakers, moral representatives, manufacturers, distributors and final consumers; however, the latter are generally the sector who is least on-the-know about the legality of said items.

So, the question arises: is it legal to possess a childlike sex doll?

Throughout this article, laws in several countries were reviewed to find out. However, reader discretion and careful study of own country’s laws are advised.

 

Amazon And The Uprising Of The Issue

Among the products considered offensive according to Amazon’s official policy are “products that depict children (including boys, girls, babies) and youth (including boys, girls) in a sexually suggestive manner or that encourage sexual acts by children, child nudity, child profanity, drug use, or child abuse.

However, their platform didn’t take strict measures against vendors until several local and international coallitions demanded serious action between late 2019 and early 2020.

The actions taken by Amazon and followed by several large e-Commerce websites punished severely the sellers’ accounts, eradicating the sale of suggestive material involving children, mainly childlike sex dolls.

However, these actions didn’t affect the buyers of said products in any way. This course of action could be a reflection of the laws in most countries, where the import, distribution and sale of these dolls is prohibited; however, owning them represents no crime.

Laws In America

Throughout the United States, except in Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee, it is legal to import those dolls, to own them and even to sell them.

Specifically, the law in these states prohibits someone from “knowingly having in his or her possession custody or control an obscene childlike sex doll” under the justification that owning these dolls encourages child predators.

The most recent and highlighted shift in the American law is the Florida case. The Florida Senate, in May 2019, made its decision of criminalizing the possession of childlike sex dolls after being presented with one-sided evidence from experts arguing that using these dolls would likely “reinforce pedophilic ideation” for some, and, due to the risk of reoffending associated with these kinds of activities, child molesters gaining access to these dolls could positively reinforce their behavior, which would pose a threat to children.

Others have also expressed concern that the dolls’ nature normalizes the type of behavior that involves an adult molesting a child.

Opponents of the measure point out that the ability to own these dolls may actually be deterring child predators from acting out their impulses on actual victims.

However, there is no evidence of these claims.

Prior to now, prosecutors all around the world have, at times, tried to bring pornography charges against those who possess these dolls, but these charges have typically been dismissed in court.

This is because possession of these dolls could not technically be proven as child pornography; given that no child was actually involved.

In the United States, First Amendment rights guaranteeing the right to free speech may be implicated here; even if this is not the case for child pornography and obscenity because neither of those qualifies as free speech.

Specifically, the U.S. Supreme Court developed a test to determine whether something technically qualifies as obscenity; whereby it qualifies if:

  • The average person would find appeals to the prurient interest;
  • It depicts or describes sexual conduct in a “patently offensive way”; and
  • It lacks artistic, literary, political, or scientific value.

However, it is important to note that the First Amendment still protects private possession of obscenity in one’s own home.

Also, based on previous case precedent which hinges on considering something to be child pornography only if it implicates actual children, it does not appear that these dolls technically qualify as child pornography.

Western World

Other Western countries and regions, such as the United Kingdom (and the Commonwealth of Nations), Canada, and some countries in the European Union such as Denmark have prohibited the circulation and sale of childlike sex dolls.

However, neither owning nor acquiring one is a crime in these countries; the sale itself is unaffected unless the item is intercepted en route to the final consumer.

These confiscations occur in border customs or in postal offices, long before said product can reach its destination.

The European Union is currently starting a debate to impose heavier restrictions on the sale of the dolls; however, no voice has been raised yet about the possession of childlike sex dolls.

Eastern World

On the other hand, countries in the Middle East have a much stricter view on the issue: the Arab world (the countries under Islamic law) ban the manufacturing, possession, distribution and sale of any type of pornographic material, which includes (but is not limited to) sex toys of any fashion, which means owning a childlike sex doll in such countries is a legal offence.

This is the same case in other Middle and Far East countries, such as Malaysia, India, and Thailand; with penal codes in these countries banning the possession of obscene goods.

The notable exceptions in Asia would be China and Japan, where laws are at best unclear about this issue, due to both lack of clarity in the typification of these items and the absence of a legal frame which either protects or criminalizes the possession and distribution of these dolls.

Rest Of The World

Having into account that most other countries tend to follow the European and American legal standards, and laws about obscenity, immorality and child protection have not changed much over the years, it’s safe to assume that at least the import, distribution, and sale of childlike sex dolls is restricted to an extent; however, being found under possession of a childlike sex doll would not appear to be a felony, beyond using this fact as evidence against the owner of the doll in child abuse investigations.

List Of Countries Banning The Sale And Distribution Of Childlike Sex Dolls

United States, in several states; however, it is not a federal law
Canada
Australia
United Kingdom
Denmark
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
Thailand
Malaysia
Vietnam
India
Maldives

List Of Countries Banning The Possession Of Childlike Sex Dolls

Saudi Arabia
Thailand
Vietnam
Malaysia
Maldives
India
United Arab Emirates

Final Thoughts

As it stands, possession of a childlike sex doll on its own is not an offence in almost every country, with the exception of the states of Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky, due to recent laws.

In most countries, to be found guilty of a crime related to a childlike sex doll, there must be proof of either importation or distribution, with the exception of the countries where sex toys are banned.

In this sense, laws often punish the supply chain from shippers to vendors, but it doesn’t affect neither manufacturers nor final consumers.

For most countries, if the item was manufactured or warehoused in the country prior to acquiring said doll, the purchaser has not committed an offence.

Even though owning a childlike sex doll might not be illegal, being caught under possession of photos of videos of said doll or acts with said doll are likely a crime.

If the doll is, for example, photographed naked it could be argued that that photograph then constitutes a ‘pseudo’ indecent image of under several regional and federal laws of many countries.

Also, the possession of a childlike sex doll could be used as evidence against the owner to open or follow investigations related to child abuse laws.

For these reasons, you will not find childlike sex dolls up for sale on our website. It still raises the issue that new legislation is clearly required.

However, it is foreseeable that in the near future, more countries start reconsidering their laws to ban the manufacturing and penalize the possession of said items.

 

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