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Crimes against cultural heritage amounted to only 0.2% of the total volume of contraband in the world in 2019


The annual report of the World Customs Organisation on transnational criminality shows that the number of violations associated with cultural heritage forms an insignificant part of the total number of crimes in the world.

The World Customs Organisation
Foto: The World Customs Organisation

According to the report on illegal trade for 2019, 102,214 cases of violation of international trade regulations were examined throughout the world. Only 227 of them (0.22%) fall under the category of «cultural heritage». In the year 2019, 271 confiscations of property were conducted, which is 12.7% lower than in 2018 in 34 of the world's countries. However, violations were reported by 19 new countries and there was a total of 9,399 artifacts confiscated.

The biggest number of violations was recorded in Russia — 133 cases (58.5%); and in Ukraine — 14 cases, (6.1%).

The World Customs Organisation (WCO) started including the category «cultural heritage» into its annual report on illegal trade in 2015. The organisation itself recalls that data for the report is voluntary provided by WCO member governments, and that there are numerous reasons why customs authorities might not share certain cases. The results of this report may only be used for reference and they in no way reflect the entire scope of efforts of law enforcement authorities or the actual volumes of illegal trade of valuable cultural artifacts.

Source: The World Customs Organisation

Evgeniy Saunin, 04 October 2020, 19:40

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