Home / Archive / Jamaican Police Target Human Traffickers Operating with Bitcoin

Jamaican Police Target Human Traffickers Operating with Bitcoin

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:00 PM
Francisco Memoria
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:00 PM

According to a recent report , police in Jamaica is currently refining a strategy to go after human traffickers using cryptocurrencies in an attempt to hide their transactions, according to the Deputy Superintendent of Police Carl Berry, who stated that these criminals are increasingly turning to cryptocurrencies.

Carl Berry, while speaking at a two-day Anti-Money Laundering/ Counter-Terrorism financing conference in New Kingston, told bankers that the illicit proceeds of the human trafficking business were finding their way into the banking system, and asked them to collaborate with law enforcement to track the money. He added that Jamaica was having conversations with global law enforcement.

The human trafficking business is a serious problem. It mostly targets females, and is estimated to be worth around $150 billion. In Jamaica, an estimated 7,000 women, children and men live in slavery because of it, under handlers who charge anywhere between $2 to $470 for their services.

While according to Berry mostly women and children are being trafficked and forced into sexual slavery, men are increasingly being entrapped after being tricked by women. Victims aren’t just subjected to sexual enslavement, but often end up in forced marriages, in organ harvesting schemes, stem cell harvesting, or even pay-per-view murder.

Traffickers Are Turning to Cryptocurrencies

While describing the horrors of what happens to human trafficking victims, Berry added that the traffickers themselves aren’t necessarily sadists, but are in the business for the money. That said, they’re increasingly turning to cryptocurrencies in an attempt to hide from authorities.

Per Berry, traffickers are both turning to the deep web, and to bitcoin and anonymous cryptocurrencies, presumably such as Monero and Zcash, to transact while keeping their identities safe.

The deputy superintendent stated:

They are asking for payment in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, a new factor which creates problems for law enforcers.

He added that the Jamaica Constabulary Force has “crafted a plan to treat with the flow of illicit money”.

Jamaica, according to the report, has been successfully tackling modern slavery, as it recently managed to get itself off an international watch list for the activity, after managing four convictions and rescuing more than 70 victims. The deputy superintendent, however, cautioned that there’s still a lot of work ahead of the small island nation.

Featured image from Shutterstock.