Police in Jamaica say that human traffickers are increasingly turning to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in order to hide the money trail and avoid law enforcement.
We live in a world of progress and are surrounded by the miracles of modern technology. Food is grown in areas that were once barren, and we can communicate with people on the other side of the world in an instant. Yet for all our continuing march towards a better world, there is still quite a bit of ugliness to be found. Case in point is the continued existence of human trafficking, which is estimated to be a $150 billion USD industry worldwide. Trying to fight this scourge is hard enough, to begin with, but police in Jamaica say that it’s getting harder as human traffickers are increasingly using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to evade detection.
Human Trafficking is a Worldwide Scourge
The statistics for human trafficking are shocking. It’s estimated that over 45 million men, women, and children are affected by this modern day slavery. This slavery takes many forms: sexual exploitation, organ harvesting, forced marriages, labor, murder, and even forced abortions for stem cell harvesting. It’s enough to make the hairs on your head stand up.
Jamaica is taking human trafficking seriously, especially in light that they were on an international watch list for the horrendous practice. The country has managed to remove itself from the list after recently rescuing more than 70 victims and convicting four human traffickers. At the Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Financing of Terrorism Conference in New Kingston, law enforcement stressed the need to hit human traffickers “in the pocketbook” but that such actions are getting more difficult.
Using Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrency to Hide Money Trails
Jamaican law enforcement is talking to global law enforcement agencies and banks on how to follow the money trail for human trafficking. The current main issue that the police have is that the money trail is getting harder to follow as human traffickers are now using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Deputy Superintendent of Police Carl Berry says:
They are asking for payment in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, a new factor which creates problems for law enforcers.
The police also say that the use of the “dark web” for human trafficking transactions is compounding the problem due to anonymity. The superintendent says that the Jamaican police have a plan but has not elaborated on it.
The use of cryptocurrency by criminals should not come as a shock. As soon as any new technology is invented, there are those who immediately begin to think about how to use it in an illegal manner. Just as soon as computers could talk to one another, people began hacking. The reality is that there are no easy answers on how best to fight human trafficking in today’s world. Blaming cryptocurrency is not the solution as human trafficking was thriving long before Bitcoin and its ilk were created.
What do you think about human traffickers turning to Bitcoin and other digital currencies? Let us know in the comments below.
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