Child sex abuse dolls: the facts

*Content warning- this post contains content that may be distressing*

What are child sex abuse dolls?

Child sex abuse dolls are lifelike, anatomically correct sex dolls modelled on the bodies of children, typically girls, marketed for men’s sexual use. They resemble prepubescent children, and even toddlers and babies. Their bodies, facial features and weight are similar to a living child, but they are also designed to accommodate an adult male’s penis. There have been reports of child sex abuse doll manufacturers designing dolls modelled on living children, from images shared on social media.

Are they legal?

Some countries have introduced legislation to criminalise child sex abuse dolls, or have utilised existing legislation, classifying the dolls as obscene or child exploitation material. In Australia, federal legislation to criminalise child sex abuse dolls was passed in 2019. The Combatting Child Sexual Exploitation Legislation Amendment 2019 bill expands the definition of child abuse material to include child-like sex dolls, making it illegal to possess child sex dolls, to use a carriage service to advertise or solicit them, or to use a postal service to send them. Some states have also taken steps to ban them.

Could they prevent child sexual abuse?

Defenders of child sex abuse dolls argue they could be made available to paedophiles for therapeutic use, speculating that if paedophiles can simulate child sexual abuse on childlike dolls, it could prevent their abuse of living children. But there is no evidence for this. Child sex abuse dolls put living children at risk, by normalising and legitimising the sexual use and abuse of children. Rather than satisfying users’ urges to abuse children, child sex abuse dolls could strengthen and encourage users’ sexual desires for children.

Campaigns Manager Caitlin Roper, a PhD candidate researching female-bodied sex dolls and robots, responds to arguments in support of child sex abuse dolls here.

In 2019, the Australian Institute of Criminology released a report on child sex abuse dolls, concluding that there is no evidence that child sex dolls prevent child sexual abuse, and that they could lead to an escalation in the sexual abuse of children:

It is "reasonable to assume that interaction with child sex dolls could increase the likelihood of child sexual abuse by desensitising the user to the physical, emotional and psychological harm caused by child sexual abuse and normalising the behaviour in the mind of the abuser."

Tell us about your Alibaba campaign - where it is up to and what has been the response?

We exposed mega online shopping corporate Alibaba for profiting from the sale of child sex abuse dolls modelled on the bodies of pre-pubescent girls, toddlers and babies on its platform. Our team’s week-long investigation has found large numbers of replica child dolls marketed as ‘young girl’, ‘flat chest’ and ‘sex dolls for men’ sold by 18 suppliers. Some dolls are as small as 65cm, the size of a six-month-old baby. Our Campaigns Manager Melinda Liszewski, who made inquiries about the dolls through Alibaba’s app using a different name, has received many ‘updates’ since, including videos showing anatomically correct naked baby dolls and how they can be used. 

After we exposed these products on social media, Alibaba Group Australia and New Zealand responded on Twitter, stating the items were in violation of their terms and conditions and that they were “looking into it”. But some of the sellers of child sex abuse dolls on the platform are marked as verified by Alibaba and this is not the first time Alibaba has been exposed selling these dolls. 

After our campaign received international news coverage (see here and here) some of the child sex abuse dolls appear to have been removed, but many remain. We have called on major credit card and secure money transfer companies which are processing and taking a cut from child sex doll transactions - including Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Western Union and MoneyGram - to cease doing so immediately. We are continuing to put pressure on Alibaba Group on social media, using the hashtag #AlibabaChildSexDolls- please join us!

Caitlin will be addressing the 2020 Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Online Global Summit next week, speaking on this topic. Register for free to view presentations by Caitlin and Movement Director Melinda Tankard Reist. 

See also:

Alibaba Group: Stop selling child sex abuse dolls- Collective Shout

Disturbing child sex dolls, including anatomically correct babies, sold online in Australia by Alibaba- news.com.au

Child sex dolls removed from online store Wish- Collective Shout

“It comforts offenders in their actions”: The problem with ‘virtual’ child sexual abuse material- Collective Shout


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