Police Using Child Sex Dolls to Catch Pedophiles

Silicone dream dolls are seen at the workshop of the Dreamdoll company in Duppigheim near Strasbourg.
Silicone dream dolls are seen at the workshop of the Dreamdoll company in Duppigheim near Strasbourg. (REUTERS/Vincent Kessler)

U.K. border forces have seized 123 child sex dolls since March 2016 and charged seven people for importing them.

This has led to the imprisonment of one man in June, and five of the seven are also facing child porn allegations.

Hazel Stewart from the National Crime Agency's Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Specialist Operation Team said Monday that the importation of child sex dolls is a "relatively new phenomenon" and noted that authorities look at their purchase as indicative of "other offenses" against children.

"The NCA and Border Force co-ordinate law enforcement activity, carrying out intelligence checks and offering specialist advice every time these indecent and obscene items are seized at the border," Mrs. Stewart. "Importers of such obscene items should expect to have law enforcement closing in on them."

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On Monday Canterbury Crown Court Judge Simon James announced a landmark decision on subject, ruling that it was both indecent and obscene— by the law—to import and engage in sexual intercourse with a child-like sex doll.

The plaintiff in the case, David Turner, 72, who resigned from his position as a school governor of St. Ethelbert's Church Primary School in Ramsgate and as warden of St Ethelbert's and Gertrude Church following his initial arrest in November 2016, will reappear in court on September 8th for sentencing.

A church warden is the English equivalent of a member of a U.S. church's board.

The NCA arrested Mr. Turner after the Border Force's Fast Parcel Joint Border Intelligence Unit (JBIU) at Stansted Airport intercepted a package he was attempting to import from Hong Kong, China, labelled as a mannequin, which upon further inspection contained a 3 foot, 10 inch-child sex doll with fishnet bodystocking.

A December search of Mr. Turner's home in Ramsgate, Kent led to the discovery of two child sex dolls in his study, and the seizure of a computer, tablets, external hard drives and pen drives, which showed after forensic analysis that he had viewed websites selling items advertised as sex dolls.

Additionally, Mr. Turner was in possession of 138 Category A images of child abuse (the most serious), 299 Category B images and 33,619 Category C images. According to the NCA, children in the images were aged from approximately 3 to 16.

Authorities also found 29 fictional stories that described sexual abuse of children but fell outside the Obscene Publications Act.

In June 2017, Mr. Turner admitted to possessing 34,000 indecent images of children.

Mr. Turner told police his preference was to view indecent images of children aged 4 to 10, and he admitted to "secretly" taking photographs of girls aged 6 to 11 in public places.

The arrest has raised the question among experts and authorities of whether there is a clear correlation between those attempting to import child sex dolls and child pedophiles actively engaged criminal activity.

"Our front-line officers and intelligence teams are vigilant to emerging criminal trends such as the importation of obscene dolls," Border Force's Deputy Director of Intelligence Operations Dan Scully said. "The seizure of the offending item led directly to the identification of Turner and ultimately to the uncovering of his criminal interest in children."

The head of Barnardo's, Britain's oldest and largest children's charity which runs 996 services in local communities, including support for children who have been sexually exploited, chimed in on the landmark decision.

"The importation of child sex dolls into the U.K. is an extremely disturbing new phenomenon and one that needs to be tackled with robust legislation and enforcement," Barnardo's Chief Executive, Javed Khan said. "Evidence from the NCA shows there's a clear connection between possessing these dolls and a sexual interest in children, with owners being charged with offenses such as being in possession of indecent images of children."

In 2016 during a panel discussion hosted at MIT's Media Lab on "Sexual Deviance: Can Technology Protect Our Children?", Ron Arkin, a robotics professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, argued that "people should not only legally be permitted to have such dolls, but perhaps some should be handed prescriptions for them."

The Head of Development for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, a British charity which campaigns for the protection of children, rejected the suggestion that child sex robots should be used in therapy to prevent pedophiles from committing real sexual acts against children.

"There is no evidence to support the idea that the use of so-called child sex dolls helps prevent potential abusers from committing contact offenses against real children," NSPCC's Jon Brown said. "And in fact, there is a risk that those using these child sex dolls or realistic props could become desensitized and their behavior becomes normalized to them, so that they go on to harm children themselves, as is often the case with those who view indecent images."

Mr. Brown announced that the NSPCC is calling on the British government to criminalize the manufacturing, distribution and possession of child sex dolls.

"And until this loophole is closed, online retailers who have these items available to purchase should immediately remove them from sale."

This article originally appeared on TRUNews.

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