Rothfus’ and Vargas’ Anti-Trafficking Bill Passes the House
WASHINGTON – Representative Keith Rothfus (PA-12) released the following statement after passage of H.R. 6069, the Fight Illicit Networks and Detect (FIND) Trafficking Act of 2018. Introduced by Representative Juan Vargas’ (CA-51) and Representative Rothfus, the FIND Trafficking Act of 2018 requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to analyze and report on the use of virtual currencies in marketplaces facilitating sex and drug trafficking:
“Illicit markets where drug and human trafficking take place are constantly evolving, especially on the dark web,” said Congressman Rothfus. “Cryptocurrencies can mask traffickers’ transactions, affording them a level of anonymity when conducting illegal activities. This bipartisan legislation will help the government expose new criminal methods to move illicit funds, and provide ways to stop them. I am proud to see my colleagues join Representative Vargas and me on this critical issue. I hope this bill sees its way through the Senate to the President’s desk.”
"I am glad to see that my bill, the FIND Trafficking Act, passed in the House with strong bipartisan support," said Congressman 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 can be used for legal purchases. The anonymity associated with virtual currencies, however, has led them to become a popular financial payment method for illicit activities. Specifically, they are a growing method of payment with illegal sex and drug trafficking, which are two of the most 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, that contribute 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, and to determine how to fight these illicit activities.