#BuyerBeware: Antiquities Are Funding Violent Extremism
The international crisis of cultural racketeering—the looting and trafficking of ancient artifacts to fund crime, conflict, and terrorism—threatens our national security and world heritage.
To honor World Heritage Day on April 18, the Antiquities Coalition launched a new awareness campaign to tackle this growing problem. Our new video, #BuyerBeware, features a consumer unknowingly purchasing a piece of looted ancient art online, bringing the issue of the illicit trade and its consequences into the homes of everyday people. We hope that it will help viewers to recognize that:
- Those who purchase ancient art often have no way to validate whether or not a piece has been looted or stolen.
- These buyers may unknowingly fund violent extremism or criminals.
- They may also unwittingly contribute to the destruction of the world’s shared cultural heritage. Cultural sites are destroyed by looting and by the extremists who profit from it.
How Can You Help?
We hope that you will help us #combatlooting by promoting our #buyerbeware campaign and sharing our video through Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
And remember, whether you’re purchasing a piece of ancient art on Madison Avenue, or trinket on the internet, remember artifacts are a risky investment. At best, you risk buying a modern forgery or stolen property. At worst, you risk funding terrorist organizations like Daesh (also known as ISIS). If you see one of the red flags in our infographic, think twice before you buy.
There are a number of ways you can help us fight cultural racketeering and save our shared heritage for future generations, you can see them below:
Where Can You Learn More About Cultural Racketeering?
Cultural racketeering is the looting and trafficking of art and antiquities to fund crime, conflict, and violent extremism.
As long as there have been tombs, there have been tomb raiders; but in this modern world, such destruction is taking place on a scale never before seen in history. Cultural racketeering has become a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that spans the globe and thrives during crisis.
This illegal industry often goes hand in hand with cultural terrorism, the deliberate and systematic destruction of targeted groups and their heritage. Currently Daesh (commonly known as ISIS or ISIL), is engaged in both cultural racketeering and terrorism in Iraq and Syria, converting the Cradle of Civilization’s patrimony into weapons and troops whose atrocities destroy human life, culture, and history.
But Daesh is not alone. By purchasing antiques on Madison Avenue such as an Egyptian papyrus, a Cambodian statue, or a Mayan vase, collectors may be putting money into the pockets of mafia syndicates, armed insurgents, and terrorist networks. As this is a global problem, it requires global solutions.