Imports of sexual products rising


THE uncontrolled availability of sex-enhancement products that contain potentially harmful substances worldwide should be a major public health concern here in Papua New Guinea.
That means more work is needed to put a stop to these from entering the country.
Just last week, over 20 sex enhancement products were confiscated, following a successful undercover operation.
It was arranged by enforcement and compliance officers from the Office of Censorship with assistance from drug and vice squad of the Royal PNG Constabulary and PNG Customs officers.
The products are worth more than K10,000 on the street market.
The products were ordered from Hong Kong via Singapore, through a logistic company.
Under the Classification of Publication (Censorship) Act 1989: “All imported sex enhancement products in whatever state, form or shape are not permitted unless specifically prescribed by a resident doctor who can be contacted to verify its use.”
It further states a person who has in his possession an objectionable publication, other than a prescribed publication, is guilty of an offence punishable, (b) in the case of an individual – by a fine not exceeding K1000 or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both.
The penalty imposed can be deterrent to others if offenders are slapped with a spot fine of K1000 and a verbal warning since it is the first offence committed.
Worldwide, the use of items and unlicensed food and herbal supplements to enhance sexual functions is drastically increasing.
This phenomenon, combined with the availability of these products over the Internet, represents a challenge from a clinical and a public health perspective.
The possible impact on population health, particularly among subjects with psychiatric disorders, usually at risk for sexual dysfunction, may be significant.
This new trend needs to be extensively studied and monitored.
With the advent of e-commerce, buying sex toys has never been easier or more discreet.
Import and obscenity laws concerning sex toys, while they vary from country to country, are generally vague and irregularly enforced.
Many nations have banned the import of sex toys, although few directly mention sex toys in their prohibition lists.
Going by statistics released last year, PNG has seen a rapid increase in the use of the internet and digital technologies in recent years.
From 2000 to 2015, internet penetration increased from 135,000 to 625,874 or 2.8 per cent to 9.4 per cent of the total population.
The continued confiscation of such items by authorities indicates loopholes in the monitoring and checking process.
Appropriate laws should be passed or enacted to allow customs, police, National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection Authority (Naqia) and censorship officers to check all items coming through our borders.
Scanning machines should be placed there and officers must be trained to become experts in their duty.
Sexual exploitation is a real and disturbing problem.
This represents a growing public health threat, which is putting the population at risk.
This new trend needs to be extensively studied and monitored.
It is time to review and increase the fines and imprisonment terms.