The Australian Border Force has started blocking the importation of Hentai (a popular form of animated Japanese pornography) due to its depiction of sexual violence and child sexual abuse material.
This is a fantastic step forward in combatting child sexual exploitation in this country.
Earlier this year, South Australian MP Connie Bonaros succeeded in getting Japanese comic book chain, Kinokuniya, to pull hundreds of titles from its Sydney stores after complaining to the retailer that it was selling “kiddie porn manga”.
Not long before this, Ms Bonaros and South Australian Senator Stirling Griff had also called for an urgent review of classification regulations after discovering that a number of Japanese comic books and videos circulating in Australia showed highly sexualised images of children—including scenes of rape, incest, and sexual abuse.
"Experts that advocate against child exploitation have referred to this type of anime and manga as a gateway to the abuse of actual children," the Senator said. "Experts also say that explicit anime and manga can be used by paedophiles as tools to groom children. It makes me sick to the stomach to even speak about this."
The current classification regulations have been inadequate for detecting and protecting against this abhorrent material. This is despite the fact that consumers can still be prosecuted for possessing anime images that fit the category of child abuse material.
In 2015, a 52-year-old man in Adelaide was given a suspended jail sentence for having more than 300 anime images that were classed as child sexual abuse material.
Justice Paul Muscat noted that it was not “that great a step” to go from viewing such material, to viewing material of real life child exploitation. “[T]he concern is that those who view anime will go on to view images of actual children being sexually abused,” he said.
The Federal Government is currently undertaking a review of Australian classification regulations. It is critical that it takes the same approach as the ABF in making it abundantly clear that all forms of child abuse material are intolerable and puts in place regulations that prevent such material from ever being circulated.