Unknown suspected pedophiles exposed by child sex doll imports

Unknown suspected pedophiles exposed by child sex doll imports

There has been an increase in the number of seizures of child-like sex dolls by border officers. Investigators have been able to identify dozens of suspected pedophiles previously unknown.

The silicone dolls are life-like and weigh about twenty-five kgs. Each doll can cost thousands of pounds. The National Crime Agency (NCA) said the dolls that are being imported to the UK are sold online, Amazon and eBay included.

Hazel Stewart, the operations manager at the NCA’s child exploitation and online protection command, says that this new phenomenon should be criminalized.

Since March 2016, 123 dolls have been seized by Border Force officers. People who imported them have been charged and one man was jailed last month.

The figures came up when a judge at Canterbury Crown court dismissed an attempt by a barrister, who represented an ex-primary school governor, David Turner. The barrister argued that the doll imported was not obscene. After the application to dismiss the charge was refused, the 72-year-old former churchwarden, Turner, pleaded guilty on Monday to importing the doll.

Six among the seven men charged, face allegations of child abuse images.

The Deputy Director for Intelligence Operations at the Border Force, Dan Scully, said that this indicated that people purchasing these dolls online often commit sex crimes. The dolls are usually manufactured in China and Hong Kong.

“What’s critical, I think, for this investigation, was that these items were going to individuals, in many cases, who were committing other offences in relation to the harm of children,” said Scully. He also said that these potential pedophiles were unknown to UK law enforcement.

A joint investigation was launched by the NCA, Ceop and Border Force last March. They requested a pediatrician to examine a few of the models that were seized to confirm that the dolls were child-like in appearance and anatomy.

Under customs legislation, Border Force can seize items that they consider indecent or obscene. The people ordering them can be prosecuted under a specific charge of importing an indecent or obscene product.

Stewart says that there is a gap in legislation that does not make it illegal to own a child sex doll in the UK. The NCA feels that similar dolls are not being produced anywhere in the UK. Identifying the legislation under which offender could be prosecuted has been complicated.

It is impossible to search every box that comes through customs. The boxes that contain child sex dolls are usually labelled something else. Regarding the necessity of new laws to deal with the rise in child sex dolls, Stewart says “I think it’s got to be through the full range of this criminality, from manufacturer to sale, to import, to possess – the full range. And we need to make sure it’s future-proofed in case there is the introduction of sexbots, sex robots. They are the weight of a seven-year-old child, they are not something that is the traditional blow-up doll, very, very different – more accurate anatomically,” said Stewart.

Forty-nine year old Andrew Dobson from Wistaston, Crewe, was jailed by the Chester Crown court for two years and eight months. The Turner case set an important precedent in how to prosecute suspects.

“There is no evidence to support the idea that the use of so-called child sex dolls helps stop potential abusers from committing contact offences against real children,” said Jon Brown, head of development at NSPCC.

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