BTC Price Index and Live Chart – CoinDesk”>(BTC) became a popular means to conduct illegal transactions to support a booming global business in the smuggling and exploitation of people, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

According to a report by Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, FinCEN, based on government filings from financial firms in 2020 and 2021 showed that this period saw a rise in the use and abuse of crypto, most commonly bitcoin, in crimes such as human trafficking and sexual exploitation of minors. The analysis of the two years found that 2,311 reports were made about crypto being used in crimes, totaling more than $412,000,000.

The report stated that “victims are forced into forced labor, slave labour, involuntary servitude or peonage and/or forced into commercial sex acts.” The use of crypto is on the rise. In 2021, 1,975 cases were reported, compared to 336 in 2010.

In a recent statement, FinCEN Director Andrea Gacki stated that “Human traffickers exploit children and adults for financial gain.” The financial firms that flag these cases help law enforcement to protect and save innocent life.

The most recent data examined, however, was from December 20, 21 – which is more than two year ago. This period was before the crypto-winter and subsequent recovery of recent months.

FinCEN reported that the majority of cases evaluated in the report involved the exchanges of crypto for child sexual abuse material (CSAM) – usually, “CSAM”, involves explicit images and videos of children – generally, over darknet markets, using crypto kiosks or mixers.

a recent review noted that “the scale of CSAM activity reached its peak in 2021.”

FinCEN’s Report suggested that part of the growth over the past two years could have been attributed to “heightened awareness and vigilance”, from financial institutions who were informed about criminal use of cryptocurrency.

Read more: U.S. Senators Introduce Bill to Require Congressional Watchdog Study Crypto’s role in Trafficking