Home News South Korea ends ban on import of adult sex dolls

South Korea ends ban on import of adult sex dolls

South Korea ends ban on import of adult sex dolls

South Korea has lifted a ban on the import of full-body sex dolls, bringing to an end years of debate about how much the government can interfere in people’s private lives.

Although there are no laws or regulations prohibiting the importation of sex dolls, hundreds, if not thousands, have been seized by customs.

South Korea ends ban on import of adult sex dolls
A lawmaker, Lee Yong-ju, who brought a sex doll, speaks during a parliamentary inspection at the National Assembly in Seoul in 2019

A provision in the law that prohibits the importation of goods that ‘harm the country’s beautiful traditions and public moral’ has been used to justify the seizure of sex dolls.

However, the decision may face backlash from women’s rights advocates who claim sex dolls objectify women.

Importers complained and took their cases to court, where the majority of judges agreed with them and ordered customs to release the sex dolls, claiming that they are used in people’s private spaces and do not violate human dignity.

The Korea Customs Service announced on Monday that it has begun enforcing a revised guideline for bringing life-size adult sex dolls into the country.

It stated that it had reviewed recent court decisions as well as opinions from relevant government agencies such as the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

South Korea ends ban on import of adult sex dolls

The customs service stated that it will continue to prohibit the import of child-like sex dolls and other items resembling specific people.

Other countries, including the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom, are said to prohibit child-like sex dolls.

While the decision reflects South Korea’s slow but steady move to limit state interference in personal lives, some women’s rights and conservative organizations are likely to express their opposition to the use of sex dolls once more.

They claim that they contribute to women’s sexual objectification and undermine public moral.

Former head of a local company that imports sex dolls, Lee Sang-jin, applauded the customs service’s decision.

‘It’s a reasonable decision though it came a bit late,’ Mr Lee said.

‘We thought our people’s rights to seek happiness and use (sex dolls) in their private lives have been restricted by the state.

‘There are various types of people who use (sex dolls), including those who are sexually alienated or those who need them for artistic purposes.’

South Korea lifts ban on imported sex dolls

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

He said his former company has already taken back more than 20 sex dolls from customs officials through lawsuits.

Mr Lee said the company has filed separate lawsuits seeking government compensation as many of the retrieved sex dolls became unusable following about two years of seizures by the customs service.

The decision by the customs service would allow importers to retrieve sex dolls held in government storage facilities managed by the agency.

Customs officials estimate that more than 1,000 sex dolls sent to South Korea since 2018 are still in their possession.