Barbie sent a doll on a zero-gravity flight to inspire young girls to work in space and STEM – Screen Shot

Reports have surfaced of the arrest of an Australian man, based in Sydney, for allegedly importing a sex doll with childlike qualities. This appears part of a wider trend, as concerns rise over a 653 per cent surge in the number of similar products confiscated by authorities in just two years.

This most recent arrest is the latest in a long line of the same crime; just nine months ago, in December 2020, Australian authorities discovered the online open selling of disturbing child sex dolls on Etsy and disclosed that over 100 dolls of this nature had been seized in just five months. This latest arrest followed the discovery and investigation of a suspicious package conducted by Australian border officials.

Border officials seized the package on 28 Julydeclared and labelled as a clothes mannequin. On further probing, they discovered that it contained not a mannequin but a childlike sex doll. The discovery was then assigned to the Australian Border Force (ABF) authorities who later conducted a search warrant of a property located in South-West Sydney, which followed with the arrest of a 23-year-old man on Wednesday 8 September. The suspect in question was arrested on the grounds of importing tier 2 goods.

A similar tactic was conducted just last year, October 2020, with two West Australian men in their 60s charged with the same crime, after ABF officials uncovered again declared mannequins to be childlike sex dolls. In that same month, another 43-year-old man was arrested after 11 dolls of this nature were found in air cargo shipments. The vile products on Australias prohibited tier 2 goods list are legally considered in the country as child abuse materials.

According to Australias Customs Act, the importing of childlike sex dolls is a criminal offence that is punished by up to ten years in prison and/or fines of up to $525,000. Possession of such an item could also warrant a penalty of up to 15 years imprisonment.

Commander for the ABF, Justin Bathurst, stated that the department was dedicated to finding these products and catching those responsible for importing them into the country. He explained the wider implications such products can have on real children, These dolls sexualise children, they are not harmless and do not prevent people from offending in the future. Disturbingly, these dolls often include instructions on how to use them, they sometimes come with childrens clothing or blankets with cartoon characters on them, Bathurst explained.

In my experience, they look like real children, he stated, also explaining that other abusive child material is often found alongside the dolls. In a statement, the ABF disclosed that it had confiscated a total number of 226 childlike sex dolls (including parts) in the financial year 2020 to 2021, surpassing the 138 from the previous year. Officials also revealed that they would continue to work with other global officials as a majority of products were shipped to Australia from the locations of China, Japan, Hong Kong and more.

While the rise is terrifying, according to Amanda CopplemanABF Superintendent Investigations and Sponsor Monitoring Unit QLD and NTthe percentage surge in childlike sex dolls could just be an indication of the organisations improved, effective and diligent investigations.

VICE reports the lack of clarity on whether this rise can be correlated to the COVID-19 pandemic, citing its own investigation into the large spike in adult sex dolls distributed online in the past 18 months; with an Australian Federal Police spokesperson telling the publication that the quantity of child abuse content online is so rapidly increasing that some sites even crash.

Karen Andrews, Federal Minister for Home Affairs, stated that the Morrison government is serious about cracking down on this abhorrent crimeThis National Child Protection Week, Im calling on all Australians to help us in this fight. Take the threat seriously, learn the warning signs, start a discussion, and help protect children.

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Barbie sent a doll on a zero-gravity flight to inspire young girls to work in space and STEM - Screen Shot

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