Ban on Imported Sex Dolls Finally Lifted in South Korea

  • South Korea really tries to be your back seat mother, if you know what I mean.

The import of full-body sex dolls has been lifted in South Korea. This after years of debate over how much the government has say in the private life of its citizens.

There are no regulations or laws banning the import of the dolls, hundreds upon thousands have been seized by the customs, citing a clause in the law banning importation of goods that “harm the country’s beautiful traditions and public moral.”

Importers weren’t happy with this and took their case to the courts. They were mostly in agreement and the courts ordered customs to release the sex dolls. According to them, the dolls are used in people’s private spaces and don’t undermine human dignity.

Korea Customs Service said in a statement that it began a revised guideline in regard to the import of full-size adult sex dolls. It stated that recent court rulings and opinions were reviewed from relevant government agencies including the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

However, customs service was clear when it said that it will ban the import of child-like sex dolls. This extends to dolls that embody certain people. Other countries ban child-like sex dolls as well  including the United States, Australia, and the U.K.

The decision shows a turtle-like speed but still moving regarding restrictions on the state in interference into personal lives. There are also conservative groups and women’s rights groups who will likely voice their opinions against the use of a sex doll.

Even done in the privacy of ones home, there are still those who believe that sex dolls deepen sexual objectification of women and undermine public moral.

“We thought our people’s rights to seek happiness and use (sex dolls) in their private lives have been restricted by the state,” said Lee Sang-jin, head of one of the company’s online shopping malls. “There are various types of people who use (sex dolls), including those who are sexually alienated or those who need them for artistic purposes.”

Lee said the decision by the customs was “reasonable” but “bit late.”

South Korean authorities don’t crack down on the sale of domestically made sex dolls, but their quality is in general inferior to those made abroad, Lee said.

Lee said his former company has already taken back more than 20 of the dolls from customs officials through lawsuits. He said the company has filed separate lawsuits seeking government compensation as many of the retrieved dolls became unusable following about two years of seizures by the customs service.

The custom service’s decision would allow importers to get their dolls back from the government storages where they’re being held and are run by the agency. An estimated 1,000 sex dolls that had been sent to South Korea since 2018 are likely still being held.

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