|You might favor this bill if:
► You believe a report must be made available to Congress detailing the use of virtual currencies and online marketplaces in sex and drug trafficking.
|You might oppose this bill if:
► You believe that cryptocurrencies are not the main reason behind sex trafficking. This report could ultimately be used as an excuse to regulate virtual currencies instead of protecting those endangered by sex trafficking.
The FIND Trafficking Act would study and analyze how virtual currencies and online marketplaces are used to facilitate sex and drug trafficking to determine how to fight these activities. It would do so by directing the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to build and submit a report to Congress.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the GAO report must study topics including:
• how illicit proceeds are transferred into the U.S. banking system;
• state and non-state actors that benefit from or participate in such activity;
• preventative efforts from federal and state agencies; and
• how to use the unique characteristics of virtual currencies to track illicit activity.
The legislation cites a number of findings, some of these include:
• "According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment, transnational criminal organizations are increasingly using virtual currencies."
• "Virtual currencies have become a prominent method to pay for goods and services associated with illegal sex trafficking and drug trafficking, which are two of the most detrimental and troubling illegal activities facilitated by online marketplaces."
• "Online marketplaces, including the dark web, have become a prominent platform to buy, sell, and advertise for illicit goods and services associated with sex trafficking and drug trafficking."
• "According to the International Labour Organization, in 2016, 4.8 million people in the world were victims of forced sexual exploitation, and in 2014, the global profit from commercial sexual exploitation was $99 billion."
• "In 2016, within the United States, the Center for Disease Control estimated that there were 64,000 deaths related to drug overdose, and the most severe increase in drug overdoses were those associated with fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids), which amounted to over 20,000 overdose deaths."
• "According to the United States Department of the Treasury 2015 National Money Laundering Risk Assessment, an estimated $64 billion is generated annually from United States drug trafficking sales."
Rep. Vargas' press release states that "virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, Dash, Zcash, and Monero, can be used for legal purchases. However, the anonymity associated with virtual currencies has led them to become a preferred financial payment method for illicit activities. Virtual currencies have become a prominent method to pay for goods and services associated with illegal sex and drug trafficking, which are two of the most detrimental and troubling illegal activities facilitated by online marketplaces and the dark web."
A CNBC report states that virtual currencies are being used to run illegal online marketplaces to sell drugs, including the opioid fentanyl, and contributing to the opioid crisis in America.
Those who oppose the legislation argue that cash is the main driver behind sex trafficking, not virtual currencies, as they are a fairly new service. With the purpose of cryptocurrencies being that they are decentralized and unregulated, some worry that the report might be used in the future to stigmatize virtual currencies and use it as an excuse to regulate them.
Within one year from enactment, a report would be submitted to Congress summarizing the results of the study, together with any recommendations for legislative or regulatory action that would improve the efforts of Federal agencies to impede the use of virtual currencies and online marketplaces in facilitating sex and drug trafficking.
Sponsored by: Rep. Vargas, Juan [D-CA-51].
Cosponsored by: 1 Rep / 1 Dem.