Human and Drug Trafficking
The full U.S. House of Representatives has passed a measure that would direct the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study on the contributions that cryptocurrencies make to human trafficking. House floor action occurred on Monday, January 28, 2019, in connection with H.R. 502, the “Fight Illicit Networks and Detect Trafficking Act” or the FIND Trafficking Act”, which was introduced in the House by Representative Juan Vargas (D-CA).
Summary of Provisions. As passed by the House, H.R. 502 makes a number of findings with respect to the use of cryptocurrencies in human trafficking and drug trafficking. It would require the GAO to study how these virtual currencies and online marketplaces are used to facilitate sex or drug trafficking and propose regulatory and legislative actions to put an end to these illicit activities.
Floor Consideration. The House took up H.R. 502 under a procedure known as “suspension of the rules,” under which debate is limited to 40 minutes, no floor amendments to the measure are permitted, and the bill must receive the affirmative votes of at least two-thirds of those Members who are present and voting in order to be passed.
The bill was floor managed by Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) for the majority and by Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC).
Speaking in support of the measure were Representatives Vargas, Denver Riggleman (R-CA), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Madeleine Dean (D-PA). No one spoke against it.
Next Steps. Now that the House has passed H.R. 502, the next step in the process is consideration of he bill by the Senate. At the time of this writing, no timetable for action there had yet been announced