Two men arrested for alleged import of child-like sex dolls
TWO men from the Grafton area have been arrested as a result of co-ordinated operations conducted across NSW targeting purchasers of child-like sex dolls.
A multi-agency investigative team comprising Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Border Force (ABF) and the New South Wales Police Force (NSWPF), was formed after ABF officers intercepted three separate importations of the dolls throughout March and April.
Last Thursday, the investigative teams executed a search warrant at a property in Grafton.
A 62-year-old man was arrested at his home, accused of importing a child-like sex doll from China.
Police will allege they found two dolls dressed in children's clothing, as well other children's clothing items at the property.
He was refused bail and appeared in Lismore Local Court by video-link last Friday charged with two counts of possession of a child-like sex doll, six counts of possessing or controlling child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service, and one count of importing a prohibited tier 2 item.
In another operation conducted last Friday morning, a 37-year-old man was arrested in his Grafton home, charged with the Commonwealth offences of possession of a child-like doll, importing prohibited goods without approval, and possessing child abuse material.
He was scheduled to appear before Lismore Local Court on Saturday.
The men each face up to 15 years jail if convicted of possessing one of the dolls under a new Commonwealth offence introduced in September 2019 to combat child abuse-related offences.
Police do not allege any connection between the men.
Financial intelligence from AUSTRAC's (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) Fintel Alliance, with support from PayPal Australia and NSWPF, was used to help in identifying transactions involving the purchase of the dolls.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Lesa Gale, Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE), said importing and possessing child-like sex dolls was illegal and any discovery of the abhorrent items, which objectify children, is concerning.
"These dolls sexualise children. They are not harmless and do not prevent people from offending in the future," she said.
"Child-like sex dolls can desensitise people who use them to the physical, emotional and psychological harm caused by sexual abuse."
Australian Border Force Regional Commander for NSW Danielle Yannopoulos said child-like sex dolls are prohibited items and have no place in Australian society.
NSW Police State Crime Command's Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec, said these arrests send a clear message to those looking to exploit children.
"Protecting children from those who try to exploit them is and will always be a priority," he said.
Anyone in the community with information about child exploitation material or related activity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or to submit a confidential crime report via www.crimestoppers.com.au.