Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Antiquities Coalition Policy Briefs

The Antiquities Coalition Policy Briefs
Policy Brief 1: Ending Impunity for Antiquities Traffickers through the Creation of a Cultural Heritage Crimes Prosecution Team (November 2016)
By Ricardo “Rick” St. Hilaire
In just the last decade, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recovered and returned more than 7,500 illicit artifacts to thirty countries, as part of its fight against the global traffic in cultural heritage. Restituting this stolen property has done much to foster international diplomacy. However, by prioritizing forfeitures and repatriations over investigations and indictments, this “seize and send” policy has failed to hold criminals accountable in courts of law, or staunch what is now a worldwide illegal industry...
Brief 2: How Can We Fund the Fight Against Antiquities Looting and Trafficking? A "Pollution" Tax on the Antiquities Trade (December 2016)
Lawrence Rothfield
Almost every nation has laws against looting, smuggling, and trafficking in antiquities, supplemented by international bans and bilateral interdictions. Yet the playing field remains badly tilted against the site guards, customs officials, antiquities police, and prosecutors charged with enforcing these laws, in large part because enforcers lack the financial resources needed to do their job.
Policy Brief 3: How to Control the Internet Market in Antiquities? The Need for Regulation and Monitoring (July 2017)
By Neil Brodie
Illicit antiquities, some pilfered from war zones where jihadist groups operate, are increasingly finding their way online where they are being snapped up by unknowing buyers and further driving the rampant plunder of archaeological sites.
These internet sales are spurring a vicious cycle: increasing demand for antiquities, which drives the looting, producing a greater supply of artifacts, which further increases demand.
While global auction sales of art and antiquities declined in 2015—falling as much as 11 percent—online sales skyrocketed by 24 percent, reaching a staggering $3.27 billion dollars. According to Forbes, “This suggests that the art market may not be 1 cooling, exactly, but instead shifting to a new sales model, e-commerce.”
How can an online buyer guarantee that a potential purchase is not stolen property, a “blood antiquity,” or a modern forgery? The best protection is to demand evidence of how the object reached the market in the first place. However, as in more traditional sales, most antiquities on the internet lack any such documentation.

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