Putting a Price on the Priceless: Measuring the Illicit Antiquities Trade in Data and Dollars

July 26, 2021 @ 12:00 pm
Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC)

The Schar School’s Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) is hosting an upcoming event on the illicit antiquity trade. This July, for the first time, the G20 will come together to tackle culture —in growing recognition of the threats facing the world’s largest economies from transnational crimes via art and artifacts, including trafficking, money laundering, and criminal financing.

As heads of state and government turn a global spotlight on the illicit trade in cultural property, it is more important than ever that policymakers and law enforcement fully understand the problem. Yet, when compared with other black markets, there is still much we don’t know, and many of the available statistics on the size and scale of the illegal trade in antiquities or the dollar amount of the trade are widely contradictory. This lack of reliable statistics on the size of the market is hampering the international community’s ability to fight back. But how can we quantify looting, smuggling, and related crimes? What data sources can be used? Is absence of evidence actually evidence of absence? What harm is caused by cultural racketeering beyond a dollar amount—to the legitimate art market, global security, and human rights?

Join TraCCC for a stimulating discussion on these questions and more, as they bring together top experts in antiquities trafficking, transnational crime, and the art market.