Skip to main content

Accessibility controls

Text size
Main content area

CPS takes action to tackle childlike sex dolls

|News, International and organised crime

Robust measures to help prosecutors bring charges against importers and sellers of child sex dolls have been unveiled today.

A total of 230 suspected child sex dolls – usually purchased online – have been seized by the UK Border Force and referred to police, co-ordinated by the National Crime Agency, since September 2016.

This has led children’s charities and the NCA to call for tough criminal enforcement against the obscene objects, which are manufactured in a way that enables sex acts to be performed on them.

Now the CPS has published specific legal guidance on Childlike Sex Dolls, which assists prosecutors in considering charges under the following:

  • Importation offences, whereby prosecutors will have to decide whether a doll has sufficient childlike qualities to render it obscene;
  • The Obscene Publications Act, where ‘publication’ covers the sale and distribution of the dolls;
  • Postal laws, which prohibit the sending of indecent or obscene articles.

Greg McGill, CPS Director of Legal Services, said: “There is a clear public interest in deterring those who sustain the market for obscene child sex dolls and the CPS would like to make clear that their sale or importation is a serious criminal offence. 

“We will not hesitate to apply the law against anybody caught encouraging or indulging in this disturbing behaviour – and this guidance will aid our prosecutors to do just that.”

Notes to editors

  • There are three offences which may have been committed (see our new guidance for full details):
  1. Knowingly acquiring possession of goods with respect to the importation of which any prohibition or restriction is in force, namely the prohibition or restriction on the importation of indecent or obscene articles, contrary to section 42 of the Customs and Consolidation Act 1876 (“CCA 1876”) and section 170(1)(a) Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 (“CEMA 1979”). The maximum sentence is seven years’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine.
  2. Publishing an obscene article, whether for gain or not, or having an obscene article for publication for gain, contrary to section 2(1) Obscene Publications Act 1959 (“OPA 1959”). The maximum sentence is five years’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine.
  3. Sending by post a postal packet which encloses any indecent or obscene article, contrary to section 85(3)(b) Postal Services Act 2000. The maximum is 12 months’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine.


Further reading

Scroll to top