June 25, 2018

Rep. Juan Vargas’ FIND Trafficking Act Passes in the House

Washington, D.C. (June 25, 2018)—Today, Rep. Juan Vargas’ bipartisan bill, the Fight Illicit Networks and Detect (FIND) Trafficking Act of 2018 (H.R. 6069) passed unanimously in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bipartisan bill would require the Comptroller General of the United States to study how virtual currencies and online marketplaces are used to facilitate sex or drug trafficking and propose regulatory and legislative actions to put an end to these illicit activities. Through the Comptroller General’s findings and proposals, Congress would craft legislative solutions to regulate the use of virtual currencies to prevent crimes such as sex trafficking and illegal drug sales.

"I am glad to see that my bill, the FIND Trafficking Act, passed in the House with strong bipartisan support," said Rep. Juan Vargas. "This bill is an important first step in helping Congress understand the full extent of how virtual currencies are being used to facilitate drug and sex trafficking and will help us propose effective legislative solutions to fight these crimes. I hope to see the same level of support for this legislation in the Senate."

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.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2017 National Drug Assessment, transnational criminal organizations are increasingly using virtual currencies for illicit activities, including drug trafficking. It has also been reported 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.

While evidence points to the growth of virtual currencies as a payment method for illicit sex and drug trafficking, the true scope of the problem and potential solutions have not been fully established. H.R. 6069 would study and analyze how virtual currencies and online marketplaces are used to facilitate sex and drug trafficking to determine how to fight these illicit and harmful activities.  

Link to House Floor speech and bill passage for your use: https://goo.gl/k6NJqo