The Feds believe BTC ATMs are facilitating sex trafficking in a new report released with the details of the role of the machines by the United States Government Accountability Office so let’s read more today in our Bitcoin news today.
The United States Governemnt Accountability Office published a report detailing how the cryptocurrencies and BTC ATM machines could be used to facilitate human and drug trafficking. The report also laid out two principal reasons why the ATM kiosks could be helping to facilitate criminal activity:
“While kiosk operators are required to register with FinCEN, they are not required to routinely report the specific locations of their kiosks. This limits federal agencies’ ability to identify kiosks in areas that have been designated as high risk for financial crimes and could involve human and drug trafficking.”
Secondly, the report added that the virtual currency kiosks could choose not to collect info about the users’ identity which in turn provides a degree of anonymity and makes virtual currencies more attractive to criminals. The Feds believe BTC ATMs also play their role in human trafficking and the report also cited the FBI that said there has been an increase in the use of virtual currency kiosks for illicit purposes. According to Coin ATM Radar, the website allows ATM operators to self-report ATM locations which are spreading across the US. In January 2017, a total of 560 were active in the US and the number grew to over 30,000. The GAO report singles BTC out of the biggest offender:
“Bitcoin is the most commonly used virtual currency that agencies have observed facilitating illicit activities, according to officials from several federal agencies we interviewed.”
In June 2021, the GAO reported payment methods accepted by other platforms involved in the online commercial sex market which the Feds believe can be used for illegal sex trafficking. The report noted:
“The internet has enabled an online market for commercial sex, which may be used to promote the prostitution of oneself or others and sex trafficking.”
The GOA report analyzed 27 platforms engaged in the online commercial sex market saying these platforms could be used to facilitate sex trafficking. Their analysis found that 15 of the platforms accepted virtual currencies as a form of payment and three of these only accepted virtual currencies. The GOA interviewed officials at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations unit who said that certain features of crypto attract these types of offenders.
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