Antiquities looting rips artifacts out of their historical and archaeological context. It deprives countries of their cultural property, and instead allows those artifacts to be sold or auctioned to wealthy individuals on the private market. Current enforcement mechanisms provide inadequate deterrence to the secondary market for these antiquities. A recent amendment to the Bank Secrecy Act could provide a solution. However, regulations enacted pursuant to that amendment should not simply transpose requirements and red flags from the financial context to the art context. They should look beyond concerns that looting might be used to fund terrorism and should instead consider looting a harm and illegal activity in and of itself. When drafting regulations FinCEN could look to voluntary museum guidance and provenance guides to identify risk factors and red flags particular to looting. These include the condition of the antiquities, their geographic source, their provenance documentation, and whether they appear in a stolen art database. These changes could hopefully lead to a more transparent, compliant antiquities market.
Mary Genevieve Sanner,
Settling Old Scores: Proposing Targeted Regulation to Mitigate the Problem of Looted Antiquities,
72 Duke Law Journal
Available at: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/dlj/vol72/iss1/4