U.S. Congress Passes Bill to Investigate Crypto’s Role In Sex Trafficking
On January 28, 2019, U.S. Congress passed a bill to commission an investigation into the role played by cryptocurrency and online markets in global sex trafficking.
Following the Trail
On January 28, 2019, the Fight Illicit Networks and Detect (FIND) Trafficking Act of 2019 (H.R. 502) was passed by the United States House of Representatives in a 412-13 motion. The bill commissions a study that is to be carried out on the role of cryptocurrency and the online marketplace in global sex trafficking.
The idea for this bill was first put forward in June 2018 by Representative Juan Vargas, D-Calif., who stated that the bill could be the first step in combating sex trafficking online.
“If we are to craft effective regulatory and legislative solutions to combat these transnational criminal organizations, we need to fully study and analyze how virtual currencies and online marketplaces are used to facilitate sex and drug trafficking, to determine how best to eliminate their use,” he said.
Once the study is carried out, the extent to which cryptocurrency and online marketplaces help enable sex trafficking will be determined and regulatory measures will be recommended. The investigation will be carried out by the Comptroller General of the U.S. and the findings will be presented to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and the Committee on Financial Services.
Vargas has since released a press statement about the passing of the bill, calling it a step in the right direction.
“This bill is a critical first step for Congress to better understand the full extent of how virtual currencies are being used to facilitate drug and sex trafficking. H.R. 502 will equip us with the information needed to make our communities safer by proposing effective legislative solutions to combat these illicit crimes. I look forward to seeing the same level of support for this legislation in the Senate,” he said.
Cryptocurrency, despite all the benefits they afford, has been used for a number of malicious means. Several privacy coins such as Monero (XMR) have been used as a tool for kidnappers to receive ransoms undetected.
Over the internet, there has been an increase in the amount of bitcoin spent on the Darknet, which is a shady part of the internet where activities such as drug peddling and human trafficking take place.