Two US Senators Pen Open Letter to DOJ and DHS Concerning Crypto Use by Child Abusers

Two US Senators Pen Open Letter to DOJ and DHS Concerning Crypto Use by Child Abusers

Two US Senators are writing a bipartisan letter to federal agencies about the potential use of crypto assets by child abusers.

According to a new press release, Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and Senator Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, say in the letter that digital assets are the “payment of choice” for explicit materials involving children.

The letter was sent to both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In the letter, the Senators detail their concerns over the anonymity of crypto assets and their illegal use in such a manner.

“We are writing to express our concerns regarding the use of cryptocurrency in the illegal trade of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and to obtain information about the tools needed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to end this illicit trade.

The pseudonymity provided by cryptocurrency has allowed the payments for CSAM to ‘move quickly into the crypto world,’ and we are committed to ensuring that Congress and the Administration have the full suite of tools needed to end CSAM and punish sellers of this material.”

To strengthen their case, the Senators cite data from The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), and market intelligence platform Chainalysis.

In 2020-2021, FinCEN published a report that found the use of crypto assets to purchase CSAM is on the rise and that financial institutions are filing thousands of suspicious activity reports related to human and child trafficking involving Bitcoin (BTC).

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According to the IWF, the number of websites accepting crypto assets as payment for CSAM has doubled every year between 2018 and 2022.

In January 2024, Chainalysis published crypto assets are the “dominant choice for buyers and sellers of commercial child sexual abuse content.”

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