Police and archaeology against looting and trafficking of cultural goods
Looting and trafficking of cultural heritage from conflict areas to the European markets stand for an increasing phenomenon with strong consequences in terms of security, economics, culture and society. Smugglers take advantage of disparate frameworks, providing the artefacts with a fake background, in order to give them the appearance of legality, before proposing them to the market. Trafficking in cultural heritage disintegrates parts of the collective memory and contributes to the financing of terrorism.
Although the protagonists in the fight (law enforcement agencies, justice, structures devoted to cultural heritage, art market) can know each other, the potential for cooperation still remains underexploited: time, resources and space limitations, discrepancies between approaches, practices and work cultures. The gap which is noticeable at the national level gets broader at the European scale. Nevertheless, each of those professional bodies is keeping a part of the solution: resource inventory, knowledge of the artefacts, production areas and fraudulent cases, proof culture, rates and trends changing. All heterogeneous data at the disposal of these professional bodies must be combined in a scalable manner in order to help with the investigations in these illicit markets.
Partners to be envolved: