U.S. Congress Passes New Bill Seeking To Investigate Use Of Crypto In Sex Trafficking And Illegal Drug Sale
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bipartisan bill that now requires the U.S. Comptroller General to conduct a study into the potential use of cryptocurrencies in facilitating sex or drug trafficking.
In a press release published by Rep. Juan Vargas of California’s 51st Congressional District, the bill seeks regulatory and legislative measures that will help law enforcement agencies and other relevant bodies find ways of putting an end to such illicit activities.
Congress is expected to use the findings and proposals made from the research to craft legislative solutions that would curb any would-be use of virtual currencies to promote sex or drug trafficking.
According to the press statement, the “Fight Illicit Networks and Detect (FIND) Trafficking Act of 2019″ (H.R. 502) was passed with a majority of 412, with only 13 against, on January 28.
Vargas, who also serves on two House committees- the House Financial Services Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee- lauded the passing of the bill.
He termed it the “critical first step” that will see Congress get a better understanding of the “full extent of how virtual currencies are being used to facilitate drug and sex trafficking.
He said the “H.R. 502” is going to equip the leadership with the information they need to have as they seek to make communities safer. He added that he looked forward to seeing his bill receive similar levels of support in the Senate.
The legislator acknowledges that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are being used to make legal purchases online.
However, he says that crypto’s anonymity has made it become a favored payment method by those seeking to engage in illicit activities, like the sale of illegal drugs.
He also noted that most of these transactions are now taking place on the dark web and other online marketplaces.
The press statement also cites a 2017 Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) assessment report that reportedly showed increased activity from transnational crime groups in using digital assets in their operations.
Overall, the U.S. Congress-commissioned study seeks to understand “the true scope of the problem,” and the Comptroller General is expected to table the study’s findings before the House Financial Services Committee and the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.
Alongside the “H.R. 502” bill, lawmakers have also passed the “Financial Technology Protection Act” (H.R. 56). The new bill seeks a grant fund that would support intelligence programs that target preventing the use of cryptocurrencies in nefarious activities like terrorism financing.
The bill also seeks the creation of task force that will investigate and submit a report on new financial technologies and their use in illegal activities.
In October last year, two U.S. Reps. introduced the “Blockchain Promotional Act 2018” bill that advocated for a working group that among other things, would study blockchain and come up with a common definition.
It also sought to understand the technology’s potential impact across the wider policy spectrum.
Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.