Illicit trafficking of cultural goods
The security of cultural goods remains an important issue for the European historic houses association. The illicit trafficking of stolen goods is a subject that concerns most our members. Residential houses are the first victims of theft, before places of worship and museums. Most robberies are committed in historic houses which are open to the public, which makes them very vulnerable. As about half of the private historic houses in Europe are accessible to the public, one can imagine how sensitive this issue is for our members.
Five recommendations were proposed in order to help the private owners of historic houses in prevention against theft which is local and find some solutions in the purpose of fighting the international illicit trafficking.
- To create a European database composed of specific criteria on which each private owner could put down a European inventory card, describing the object stolen in two exemplars, one in English, the other one in the language of the owner.
- To strengthen the juridical status of the inventory, in order to facilitate the research and also the traceability of the items. Also, it can make easier the recovery for the owner of the item who has sometimes to pay again his own cultural goods.
- To reinforce the role and the competence of the national historic houses association. A person qualified in the field of illicit trafficking in the association will be referred as a contact point. This person would be in charge of helping the owners about the theft questions (prevention and action), but also, he would be in contact with the institutions specialized (UNESCO, INTERPOL etc).
- To coordinate all the national legislations dealing with the illicit trafficking of cultural goods and create a European legislation which defines, at an European scale, what are cultural goods, illicit trafficking and concealment.
- To encourage the police specialized in the illicit trafficking of cultural goods to help the local police to be able to fight again the theft.