Online orders for child sex dolls help British police find suspected pedophiles

British police found two child sex dolls in the home of David Turner, who was found guilty of obscenity and possession of images of child abuse. Photo by U.K. National Crime Agency

August 1 (UPI) — People in Britain are ordering child sex dolls on the Internet, and police are using the purchases to find suspected pedophiles.

The dolls are not technically illegal to possess under British law yet, but they are illegal to import, and police have seized 123 dolls since March 2016. They have also tracked down the people who have ordered the dolls, leading to several arrests, according to Dan Scully, deputy director for intelligence operations at the Border Force.

“They were also, critically, people who were otherwise unknown to U.K. law enforcement in having an interest in sexual activity with children,” he said, reported Sky News.

One of those people arrested was David Turner, a 72-year-old former schoolteacher and churchwarden, who had two of the dolls in his possession. Police also found more than 30,000 sexual images of children in his home.

Turner will be sentenced in September and faces 14 years in prison.

In June, Andrew Dobson, 49, was sentenced to nearly three years in prison after a child sex doll order he placed led police to his home, where they found illegal images of children on his computer. Dobson was sentenced to nearly 3 years in prison.

Although police are using the child sex doll orders to find suspected pedophiles, they’re not able to find every order through customs because they are usually sent through the mail disguised as something else, reported the Guardian. In addition, not all cases can be prosecuted for various reasons.

Scully said investigators are “playing catch-up” with the new phenomenon.

The child sex dolls are a relatively new product to hit the online markets. Liz Stewart, operations manager at the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command, said the dolls are made to be realistic.

“They are the weight of a seven-year-old child, they are not something that is the traditional blow-up doll…[They are] very, very different — very, very more accurate anatomically,” she said.

The Telegraph reported that the dolls are bought and sold via popular retail websites like eBay and Amazon.

“All Marketplace sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who don’t will be subject to action, including potential removal of their account,” an Amazon spokesperson said.

Stewart believes the dolls should be made completely illegal and steps need to be taken to consider what future versions of the dolls might be like.

“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,” she said. “And we need to make sure it’s future-proofed in case there is the introduction of sexbots, sex robots.”


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