A Legal Overview of Adult and Childlike Sex Doll Laws in Different Countries

Sex tech attorney Maxine Lynn presents on legal issues facing the industry.

In the age of self-isolation, maybe you’re wishing you had a live-in love doll companion. Or maybe you’re an entrepreneur considering getting into the sexbot industry to help fulfill the demand for synthetic lovers.

If you are thinking about entering the sex robot and love doll industry, it’s good to know about the laws regulating their creation and sale.

At AVN 2020 in January, sex tech attorney Maxine Lynn gave a presentation on legal issues facing the sex tech industry.

A brief yet informative section of Lynn’s talk covered laws around the world regarding both adult-looking and childlike sex dolls. The video below starts during the “Sex Dolls” section. We’ve also posted a transcript underneath for your convenience.

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Generally, in many countries, adult-looking sex dolls and robots don’t seem to be an issue, legally, at least. They’re legal in the UK. They’re not… illegal in the United States, and they are legal in Korea.

It is more complex, as I’m sure you can imagine when dealing with childlike sex dolls.

In the UK, in July of 2017, a judge held up an obscenity prohibition in the 1979 Customs and Excise Management Act applies to childlike sex dolls, which therefore made their importation illegal.

In March of 2019, the Crown Prosecution Service issued guidance about childlike sex dolls. The offenses include publishing, possessing or mailing a child-like sex doll.

Childlike is not well defined. Quoting from the guidance, “When assessing whether or not the doll has childlike features, prosecutors should consider whether the nature and quality of the child… whether the nature and quality of the childlike features mean, whatever other characteristics are also present, the doll unquestionably embodies childlike features.” If you have the handout, you can check out the full guidance at the link provided there.

In the United States, the Justice Act is currently pending. That was introduced in the House of Representatives in August of 2019. Justice Act is short for Jurists United to Stop Trafficking Imitation And Child Exploitation Act. The bill is still pending, it is not law. It prohibits the import and transport of, and I quote, “Child sex doll, meaning an anatomically correct doll, mannequin or robot with the features of, or with the features that resemble those of a minor intended for uses in sexual acts.”

So stay above the fray. What is childlike is not well defined by the CPS guidance, nor by the Justice Act. If you’re going to be making sex dolls, make sure the dolls are unequivocally adult looking, whatever that may mean. There are many issues here, but they’re beyond the scope of our presentation today.

Image sources: Sex Tech Law