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The US House of Representatives has passed a bill to commission a study into how cryptocurrencies and online marketplaces can be used to facilitate sex and drug trafficking.

According to Cointelegraph, “The bipartisan bill — known as “the Fight Illicit Networks and Detect (FIND) Trafficking Act of 2019 (H.R. 502) — passed 412–13 yesterday, Jan. 28.”

The bill, HR 502 will require the US Comptroller General to investigate how cryptocurrencies and online marketplaces may directly or indirectly enable sex or drug trafficking. It would then be the Comptroller General’s responsibility to recommend regulatory and legislative actions that stop the use of crypto for these purposes.

The Democrat who sponsored the bill was Juan Vargas of California. He said: “If we are to craft effective regulatory and legislative solutions to combat these transnational criminal organizations, we need to fully study and analyze how virtual currencies and online marketplaces are used to facilitate sex and drug trafficking, to determine how best to eliminate their use.”

In his official press release, Vargas emphasised “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 are still unknown.”

At the same time as passing HR 502, the House also passed HR 56 ,which would create a grant fund for programmes and ideas aimed at preventing the illegal use of cryptocurrencies. The bill would also create an interagency task force, headed by the Secretary of Treasury, to investigate the use of new financial technologies in illicit scenarios.

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