Lawmakers in the US have taken a step towards banning particularly creepy sex robots and dolls.
The CREEPER act made it through the US House of Representatives on Wednesday. Officially known as the “Curbing Realistic Exploitative Electronic Pedophilic Robots Act of 2017”, the proposed legislation will now go to the Senate.
The law they are hoping to pass will specifically ban dolls that are made to look like children. Congressman Dan Donovan, who created the legislation, said the bill will help protect children from predators.
In a statement, the congressman warned that anatomically correct dolls were being shipped in from China, Hong Kong, and Japan by potential abusers. The dolls come with accessories such as false eyelashes and wigs, as well as warming devices and cleaning tools.
They can also be made to have "lifelike" facial expressions, including sadness and fear.
Last year, 128 of these dolls were seized in the UK alone. Unsurprisingly, 85 percent of the men who imported the creepy lifelike dolls were also found to be in possession of child pornography.
Some advocates have said that sex robots and dolls could prevent abuse, with potential abusers "channeling" their behavior towards the dolls instead. However, researchers are unconvinced.
A few weeks ago, experts warned that the rise of sex robots could be dangerous for society as a whole, saying that there was no evidence that these dolls would take away this urge, and could end up encouraging abuse instead.
“There are worries about blurred boundaries to consent and permission for enacted violence when sexbot ‘personalities’ can be selected that simulate non-consensual sex – that is, rape,” the researchers wrote in an editorial in BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health earlier this month.
It's a position the House of Representatives agree with, having just approved Congressman Donovan's legislation.
"Right now, a few clicks on a computer can allow a predator to order a vile child sex doll," Congressman Donovan said in the statement. "This is not only disturbing – but also endangers the most innocent among us.
"Once an abuser tires of practicing 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. We must protect children from those who wish them harm. I thank Chairman Goodlatte and House leadership for bringing this important legislation to the floor, and I implore the Senate to swiftly move it forward.”