17 October 2016 - Trafficking in cultural property is destroying our common heritage and fueling organized criminal activities. Today, at the margins of the Eight Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Transnational Organized Crime Convention (CTOC), UNODC launched a powerful new Public Service Announcement (PSA) to raise awareness on the threats and consequences of trafficking in cultural property.
Apart from being a serious crime, trafficking in cultural property threatens the historical value of items and the ability to gather knowledge about the past. It also denies countries and citizens of their heritage and cultural identities.
The interconnected nature of transnational organized crime, meanwhile, has seen networks employing the same routes and modi operandi to traffic cultural property similar to those used for drugs, illegal arms and others.
In many countries, efforts have so far matched neither the gravity nor the extent of the issue and it is only in recent years that international efforts to tackle the role of organized criminal networks have come to the fore.
The new PSA, therefore, aims to call attention among international organizations and national authorities to this crime, highlighting the importance of working together in addressing the challenges posed by the looting, trafficking, and sale of cultural property.
The PSA notes that ''stealing from the past is destroying the future'' and ''cultural property theft is destroying our common heritage and benefitting transnational organized crime.''
Learn more about how you can help protect our future here.