U.S. moves to ban sex dolls, ro­bots that ‘sim­u­late rape’

Times Colonist - - World -

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House on Wed­nes­day ap­proved a ban on the im­por­ta­tion and traf­fick­ing of anatom­i­cally cor­rect child sex dolls and ro­bots that “nor­mal­ize sex be­tween adults and mi­nors.”

The pro­posal was ap­proved in the House by a voice vote and now moves to the Sen­ate. “These dolls can be pro­grammed to sim­u­late rape. The very thought makes me nau­seous,” said House ju­di­ciary com­mit­tee chair­man Bob Good­latte, a Vir­ginia Repub­li­can.

Child sex dolls are one niche of a nas­cent ro­botic sex in­dus­try that has gen­er­ated de­bate about the ethics of the use of life­like ma­chines for sexual ac­tiv­ity. It is a sub­ject that turns from squea­mish to out­right re­vul­sion for many when it touches on child sex dolls and ro­bots.

“Once an abuser tires of prac­tis­ing on a doll, it’s a small step to move on to a child. My bill takes nec­es­sary steps to stop these sick­en­ing dolls from reach­ing our com­mu­ni­ties,” said Rep. Dan Dono­van, a New York Repub­li­can who spon­sored the leg­is­la­tion.

The child sex dolls are im­ported from China, Hong Kong and Ja­pan, of­ten la­belled as man­nequins or mod­els to avoid seizure by au­thor­i­ties. No U.S. law specif­i­cally bans the im­por­ta­tion and sale of the sex dolls.

Sex ro­bots are in­creas­ingly life­like, com­posed of sil­i­con flesh­like ma­te­rial, some with ba­sic ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence that al­lows con­ver­sa­tions based on moods.

The bill is called the CREEPER Act, which stands for Curb­ing Re­al­is­tic Ex­ploita­tive Elec­tronic Pe­dophilic Ro­bots Act. The pro­posal says the ob­scene dolls and ro­bots “are cus­tom­iz­a­ble or mor­phable and can re­sem­ble ac­tual chil­dren. … The dolls and ro­bots nor­mal­ize sub­mis­sive­ness and nor­mal­ize sex be­tween adults and mi­nors.”

Good­latte said he was “dis­traught” that the prob­lem of child sex dolls even ex­ists. “I am sad­dened that there are peo­ple in this world who would cre­ate re­al­is­tic child sex dolls and dis­traught that there are peo­ple in this world who would buy them,” Good­latte said.

“Cus­tomers can or­der be­spoke dolls, pro­vid­ing pic­tures of specific chil­dren they would like the doll to re­sem­ble. They can in­di­cate a pre­ferred fa­cial ex­pres­sion such as sad­ness or fear,” he said.

A change.org pe­ti­tion in sup­port of the CREEPER Act has re­ceived more than 166,700 sig­na­tures.

The U.S. De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices has found nearly three mil­lion cases re­ferred to agen­cies for in­ves­ti­ga­tion of child abuse an­nu­ally, and be­lieve that more than eight per cent in­volved sexual abuse.

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