A range of
animated movies and “comic books” showing sexually-explicit images
of young girls and connotations of incest and rape involving minors
are being freely sold in some of the country’s most popular retail
outlets, and online.
The investigation found that some of child exploitation material has
been reviewed and classified legal by the Classification Board -
despite falling within the meaning of child abuse material under the
Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 which makes it illegal to both
sell and buy some pornographic items – while other graphic material
has not been reviewed and/or classified due to disturbing loopholes
in current laws.
The SA-BEST-Centre Alliance investigation revealed the explicit
child exploitation material is found in a Japanese form of animation
called anime – both on Blue Ray discs and in Japanese “comic books”
The two forms of media share a unique visual style that is globally
popular - especially among teens.
However, there is a sinister and sickening side to anime and manga
with a significant proportion of the two media featuring child abuse
material containing images of wide-eyed depictions of children -
usually in school uniform – who are engaged in explicit sexual
activities and poses, often being sexually abused.
This is referred to as “hentai” anime and manga which child abuse
experts warn that paedophiles use as a tool to groom children.
SA-BEST MLC and Attorney General spokesperson, Connie Bonaros – who
recently introduced laws to ban childlike sex dolls in South
Australia – and her Federal colleague, Centre Alliance Senator
Stirling Griff, are demanding urgent action by the Federal
Government to ensure laws banning such child exploitation material
are properly enforced.
Connie has written to all of the state Attorneys-General to alert
them to the issue and requesting they take immediate action to stop
the material being sold.
Stirling has written to the Minister for Home Affairs and to the
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts requesting
the government takes immediate action.
Connie said she felt “sick to the core” by the findings of the
“I am horrified that child pornography material is freely available
in Australia despite clearly being in breach of the definition of
child abuse and exploitation material under both commonwealth and
state law,” Connie said.
“Even in cartoon/anime form, this is child pornography and the law
in Australia is explicitly clear about it,” she said.
“Depictions and/or representations that appear or are implied to be
of under 18-year-old children and are depicted in sexual poses or
engaged in sexual activity or is a victim of torture, cruelty or
abuse is child abuse material under both commonwealth and state
“Any retailer who sells such pornographic material is in serious
breach of the law but probably is not aware of it given current laws
are not being properly enforced.”
Stirling said a number of anime (animation) films containing child
abuse material - such as rape scenes – had received classification
by the Classification Board, allowing them to be imported and sold
However, explicit manga (graphic novels) is currently not vetted by
the Classification Board and is freely available due to the fact all
film and video games must be submitted for classification,
publications are only required to be submitted if they are deemed to
be a ‘submittable publication’ putting the onus on distributors and
publishers to determine what they should submit.
This is despite the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 prohibiting
the sale, production, possession and distribution of offensive and
abusive material “that depicts a person or a representation of a
person who is or appears to be under 18”.
“Graphic Japanese manga novels and anime depicting sickening child
abuse, rape, incest and sexualised images of children should be
removed from shelves, streaming services and banned from entering
the country,” Stirling said.
“Child exploitation is a global problem, heightened by modern
technology and the myriad of platforms that are used to access such
material,” he said.
“As legislators, we have a critical role to play in stamping it out.
There is much more to be done, and areas where we need to focus more
attention, such as the child abuse material that comes into
Australia via Japanese anime and manga.
“Experts that advocate against child exploitation have referred to
this type of anime and manga as a gateway to the abuse of actual
children. Experts also say that explicit anime and manga can be used
by paedophiles as tools to groom children.
“Incredibly, in Japan the definition of child abuse material
specifically excludes child porn anime and manga, as these media
don't include real children.
“But the law in Australia is very clear. The Commonwealth Criminal
Code prohibits the sale, production, possession and distribution of
offensive and abusive material that depicts a person, or is a
representation of a person, who is or appears to be under 18. It is
“The Classification Board appears to be making decisions in
isolation to criminal law. This must stop. There is also the issue
of explicit manga graphic novels, which are not vetted at all by the
“I recently made a submission to the current Review of Australian
classification regulation raising issues over the inadequacy of the
current regime to deal with such abusive material but we can’t wait
for the review to report, we must act now.
“The Board doesn’t seem to be following its own guidelines*
The SA-BEST-Centre Alliance special investigation found the shocking
child abuse material is freely available in Australia – including in
well-known electronics store and popular bookstores in Adelaide and
Sydney – as well as online.
The investigation follows a trip Connie made late last year to Japan
- regarded as the home of the manufacture and distribution of
childlike sex dolls – where she heard disturbing accounts from
people at the frontline fighting the scourge of child sex
exploitation in that country.
Connie said her trip to Japan was an extremely productive and
educative despite attempts to meet with the Minister for Justice
being declined at the 11th hour.
“I was able to meet with several outstanding non-government
organisations advocating against child sexual abuse, child abuse
material and child sexual exploitation in Japan – which is a
significant problem in that country,” Connie said.
“These remarkable women are working in difficult circumstances with
absolutely no government funding and are up against a system that
does not view child abuse material in the same way we do,” she said.
“They were left shocked when they heard about the extent of our
robust child exploitation laws in Australia.
“They all welcomed assistance from external sources and were
grateful that an Australian politician was keen to support them and
assist in any way to achieve legislative change with respect to
child abuse and child exploitation laws in Japan.
“They are desperate for pressure to be exerted on the Japanese
government in order to bring about meaningful change because,
ultimately, child exploitation knows no borders – and that’s what
SA-BEST and Centre Alliance intend to do.”
Connie will return to Japan later this year to continue the dialogue
with these organisations and attempt to raise her concerns with the