Jamaicans warming to erotic toys
The Customs Department pulled in more than $1 million in the past four years in duties and general consumption tax on sex toys imported into the island, but this is believed to represent just a fraction of the cost of vibrators, dildos and other enhancers taken into Jamaica.
According to chief information officer at Jamaica Customs, AndrÈ Williams, the duties and tax are "very conservative", as some individuals classified the sex toys as "other".
"There were some 7,000 transactions during the period, but the number I would say is very conservative. Plus, there are individuals who don't classify the imports correctly to avoid embarrassment," Williams told The Sunday Gleaner.
Figures supplied by Jamaica Customs showed some $622,000 paid as GCT and duties to import mostly handheld vibrators from the United States, and a further half a million dollars paid to import sex toys from China and Germany.
One customs officer told our news team that they are seeing more and more women taking in sex toys in their carry-on luggage.
According to the customs officer, oftentimes efforts are made to disguise the toys, but it is easy to determine that the mostly vibrators are new and unused, even though they are taken out of their original packages and wrapped in towels or clothes.
One person who pays the duties and GCT is adult toy importer Gavin Rankine, who told The Sunday Gleaner that he is receiving more than 100 calls per week between inquirers and orders through his online business, Secrets.
In 2014 he started for fun, but business soon boomed and six months ago Rankine made the decision to go fully into importing and selling of what he calls "intimacy accessories".
"I started out with a $50,000 investment and every month since I am spending more. I am up to $350,000 per month now in importation," said Rankine.
He said he caters to a younger group, mainly young women between the ages of 18 and 35, largely because his orders are taken through his Facebook page and his Instagram accounts.