South Korea lifts ban on import of adult sex dolls

Image credit: BBC

Adult-sized sex doll imports were formerly prohibited by South Korean authorities. Whether or not the government was meddling in people’s private life has been the subject of years of discussion.

According to the Korea Customs Service, the updated regulations continue to forbid the importation of child-like dolls that resemble minors but permit dolls that are adult-shaped to pass through customs.

In South Korea, the use of sex dolls is legal. To the contrary, since 2018, thousands of them have been impounded by customs.

A legislation that forbids the import of goods that are thought to be offensive to South Korean customs and morality was used to prevent the import of life-size sex dolls.

Initially, importers sought to have the ban lifted and the dolls released from customs by bringing legal action. They asserted that the products did not infringe upon people’s right to dignity.

The Supreme Court upheld a decision in 2019 that sex dolls are used for personal use and fall under the same category as pornography, which is closely regulated yet legal.

A petition to stop these dolls from entering South Korea, however, garnered over a quarter of a million signatures. The anonymous petition’s creator asserted that the dolls will lead to an increase in sex offences.

The problem was overcome when customs officials decided to revoke the ban. They said in a statement that the decision had been made after taking into account recent court rulings and advice from relevant governmental organizations, including the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

The ruling also permits importers to get their goods back from government storage. More than 1,000 sex dolls that have come into South Korea over the past four years are still probably in their possession, according to customs officials.

Customs officials, however, declared that they would outlaw the selling of sex dolls that resemble actual persons, such famous people.

Uncertainty surrounds the sale of locally produced sex dolls that resemble minors; nonetheless, similar limitations are in place in the US, UK, and Australia.