EL PAcCTO organised an online event to discuss this type of crime and its relationship with criminal organisations
Interpol’s Works of Art Unit has a database of more than 50,000 stolen heritage objects. More than 130 countries are affected by the trafficking of cultural property, a problem that threatens their historical heritage. This type of crime is closely related to international criminal organisations, so cooperation at the police, prosecutor and judicial levels is essential in order to deal with it.
The EL PAcCTO cooperation programme, funded by the European Union and partially managed by FIIAPP, organised an online event on the trafficking of cultural property and its relationship with criminal organisations. More than 300 people took part in the event, which included the presentation of a guide on the fight against trafficking in cultural property. Published by EL PAcCTO, the guide lists the legislation to protect cultural heritage in force in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru.
Walter Alva, a Peruvian archaeologist and director of the Royal Tombs of Sipán Museum, spoke during the seminar. He lamented the destruction of the past caused by collecting ancient art works. According to Alva, the looting of cultural property forms a chain that “goes from tomb robbers to collectors in other countries, and involves local and international traffickers.” As a way to combat this illegal activity, Alva highlighted the importance of giving visibility to the damage that the trafficking of cultural property does to the historical heritage of countries around the world.
Representing the National Police of Spain, Martina González highlighted the need for civil society to be involved in the task of protecting cultural heritage and warned of the link between trafficking in cultural property and money laundering. Members of the Chilean Ministry of Culture, UNIDROIT, the Interpol Works of Art Unit and Eurojust also took part in the event.