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Congress Advances Bill to Study Crypto Use in Drug, Sex Trafficking

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives have passed a bill that would approve a study of the use of cryptocurrencies in the sex and drug trades.

Jun 26, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:06 a.m. UTC

Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives have passed a bill that, if signed into law, would approve a study of the use of cryptocurrencies in the sex and drug trades.

As CoinDesk reported earlier this month, the bill instructs the director of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to research "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 the text of the bill

The House passed the bill unanimously, according to its author, Rep. Juan Vargas. The bill now moves to Congress' upper chamber, the Senate, though its unclear how the measure will proceed there or if U.S. President Donald Trump will sign the bill.

"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," Vargas said in a statement.

This is not the first time the House of Representatives has passed a bill that targets sex trafficking. Lawmakers recently passed a bill – FOSTA-SESTA – in February to ban ads for sex workers from online forums, in a move that may have implications for workers who use cryptocurrency.

Washington DC Capitol dome image via Shutterstock

DISCLOSURE

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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