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Paris sex doll brothel 'encourages rape', but police say it's legal

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Paris sex doll brothel 'encourages rape', but police say it's legal
Sex shops in the Pigalle district of Paris. Photo: AFP
11:27 CET+01:00
Paris councillors will this week examine calls to shut down France's first ever sex doll brothel, which opened earlier this year and currently has four silicone women ready for "rent".

The move comes after police visited the premises in the middle-class 14th arrondissement and determined that it was breaking no laws and was not a threat to public order.

Communist members of the Paris Council have tabled a motion calling for the closure of the "brothel" on moral grounds, while feminist groups argue that it is encouraging a culture of rape.

The brothel’s XDolls website advertises that it has four different dolls on offer - Lily, Sofia, Kim, and Candice - and provides photos of each one.

The whole operation is shrouded in secrecy, with no address listed on the website. To find the location, would-be customers have to pay in advance by credit card for a session with a doll, which comes at a cost of €89 for an hour, €149 for two hours, and €19 for the optional virtual reality addition.

Couples have to pay €120 for one hour, and every customer must fork out a €100 returnable deposit upon arrival.  

The brothel is listed on the city’s business register as a games centre, said Nicolas Bonnet Oulaldj, the Communist leader on the Paris council who has tabled a motion for the place to be closed.

“It’s as if you go there to play pinball or table football,” he told Le Parisien.

Lorraine Questiaux of the feminist group Mouvement du Nid (Nest Movement) has argued that Xdolls is making money from “simulating the rape of a woman.”

“Can we in France approve a business that is based on the promotion of rape?” she asked.

But a police source said that while the brothel posed moral questions, the use of the word rape was not legally relevant in this context.

“You cannot accuse a man of raping a doll. It is as if a woman were to file a complaint with the police against a dildo,” the source told Le Parisien.

While a sex-doll brothel is new for Paris, other European cities have embraced the trend in recent years. There have been sex dolls for hire for three years in Gateshead in the UK, which made headlines for its "try before you buy policy".

More recently, a sex doll brothel opened this year in the red light district of Amsterdam.

Europe got its first ever sex doll brothel when it opened in the Spanish city of Barcelona in February last year, our colleagues at The Local Spain reported.

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