Washington, D.C. – Following National Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Prevention Month in January, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today called on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to allow the Senate to vote on the bipartisan Fight Illicit Networks and Detect (FIND) Trafficking Act, which passed the House of Representatives last year. The FIND Trafficking Act would require the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on how virtual currencies and online marketplaces are used to facilitate sex and drug trafficking and make recommendations on how to fight, detect and deter these illegal activities.
“It’s outrageous that Senator McConnell continues to block all action on legislation intended to address human trafficking, especially in the wake of National Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Prevention Month just this past January. As an advocate for victims of human trafficking, I’m profoundly disappointed that the FIND Trafficking Act continues to wait for a vote in the Senate because Senator McConnell has prevented the Senate from voting on this bipartisan legislation. Meanwhile, criminals continue to exploit 21st century technologies like virtual currencies and the dark web to traffic in people and narcotics. We need better tools to stop them, and I will continue to fight in the Senate to secure those tools. It’s time for the Senate to vote on this legislation that passed the House nearly one year ago.”
Virtual currencies have been exploited to pay for goods and services associated with illegal sex and drug trafficking. Online marketplaces, including the dark web, have become a major platform to buy, sell and advertise for illicit goods and services, and according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2017 National Drug Assessment, transnational criminal organizations are increasingly using virtual currencies to conduct their illicit activities.
The FIND Trafficking Act would direct the Government Accountability Office to fully study and analyze how virtual currencies and online marketplaces are used to facilitate sex and drug trafficking and report on recommendations to impede the use of virtual currencies and online marketplaces for that purpose.