Excluded from Mainstream Payment Channels, Illicit Adult Websites Turn to Gift Cards

By Daniel Bethencourt

A U.S. advisory on human trafficking outlines the financial-crime risks posed by online gift-card exchanges, which have been used by websites peddling potentially illegal adult services to collect payment after the federal shutdown of restricted other options. Since federal authorities seized the Backpage domain in April 2018 after accusing the website's founders of accepting and laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit proceeds, gift cards have emerged alongside cryptocurrency and third-party payment processors as workarounds for the illegal sex industry to take payments from customers. In an Oct. 15 advisory that significantly builds on its previous public analysis...