Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) introduced the Fight Illicit Networks and Detect (FIND) Trafficking Act of 2019. 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.
“Far too many illegal enterprises are using virtual currencies and online marketplaces to avoid detection when trafficking innocent women, children and illicit drugs,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation, which will allow the federal government to get the information we need to stop criminal activity online. As technological advances challenge our hardworking law enforcement, Congress must continue to find every possible way to give them the tools to fight 21st century crime.”
“Virtual currencies and online marketplaces are increasingly popular with sex and drug trafficking criminals who are trying to avoid detection,” said Senator Toomey. “Our legislation will provide Congress with crucial data about how virtual currencies and online marketplaces are used to facilitate sex and drug trafficking. I hope my colleagues will quickly pass this important measure.”
Virtual currencies have been exploited 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. Online marketplaces, including the darkweb, have become a major platform to buy, sell and advertise for illicit goods and services, and according to the Drug Enforcement Administrations’ 2017 National Drug Assessment, transnational criminal organizations are increasingly using virtual currencies to conduct their illicit activities.
The FIND Trafficking Act would direct the GAO 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.