Congressional Bill Calls for Study of Crypto Use in Sex Trafficking

The House of Financial Services Committee is introducing a bill that would launch an investigation into how cryptocurrencies enable sex trafficking.

Jun 12, 2018 at 6:35 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:03 a.m. UTC

UPDATE (13 June 5:54 UTC): Full text of proposed bill, HR 6069, has been published.

Congress is set to consider yet another proposed mandate for a cryptocurrency study, this time in the area of sex trafficking.

The House of Representatives Financial Services Committee is introducing a new bill today that, if passed and signed into law, would require the director of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to open a study on "how virtual currencies and online marketplaces are used to buy, sell, or facilitate the financing of goods or services associated with sex trafficking or drug trafficking, and for other purposes."

According to a memorandum dated 11 June 2018, U.S. Congressman Juan Vargas penned the Fight Illicit Network and Detect (FIND) Trafficking Act in order to "improve the efforts of Federal agencies to impede the use of virtual currencies and online marketplaces in facilitating sex and drug trafficking."

This is not the first bill introduced under the Trump presidency that targets illegal sex trafficking online. Back in February, a controversial bill package known as FOSTA-SESTA was passed by the US House of Representatives, which effectively banned online forums from posting ads for sex workers.

The proposed FIND Trafficking Act would launch an examination into cryptocurrencies and their role in potentially enabling the efforts of sex traffickers.

For workers in the regulated adult entertainment industry, cryptocurrencies are playing an increasingly larger role as an alternative method of payment. As previously reported, several sex workers have begun to use bitcoin not only as a transactional currency but as a secure global store of value, in which they can hold their retirement savings.

Moreover, companies like Vice Industry Tokens (VIT) – which issues its own form of cryptocurrency to attract porn viewers and stars – have been gaining ground developing partnerships with Playboy TV and more recently, HoloGirlsVR, the premier provider of virtual reality adult content.

However, with the recent passing of FOSTA-SESTA, platforms like VIT are in danger of violating laws if the platform's content or activities of its users promote paid sex work in any way.

The repercussions of the study proposed in the bill introduced to Congress will be heavily dependent on the outcoming report set to be submitted "one year after enactment" to the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Image via Shutterstock.

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