How Crime, Corruption, and Murder Are Hidden in the Elusive Black Market Stages of Antiquities Trafficking

06 Jul 2013 2:01 PM | Anonymous

How Crime, Corruption, and Murder Are Hidden in the Elusive Black Market Stages of Antiquities Trafficking

Peter CampbellJuly 4, 2013
by Peter Campbell

Customs Officials Credit: Standart

Customs Officials
Credit: Standart

There is an on going debate among scholars studying antiquities trafficking undefined illegally removing cultural artefacts from one country and smuggling it to another for sale undefined as to the level of organized crime involvement. In a recent article in the International Journal of Cultural Property I try to crack this debate wide open through the use of explicit examples of crime within the trade.

I argue that the trade does not operate as a hierarchy like traditional organized crime does. Rather than have a mafia boss at the top and minions carrying out orders below, the antiquities trade functions through everyday people who are looking to supplement their income. This network structure appears disorganized to us observing from the outside, but in reality it is a highly evolved structure that many crime groups have gravitated toward. The strength of this structure is that it is impossible to cut the organization off at the head, like police do with the mafia. In criminal networks, “each participant is a replaceable cog in a series of criminal relationships analogous to a ‘plate of spaghetti [where] every piece seems to touch each other, but you are never sure where it all leads” (Green 1969: 9). Networks are the form of the modern criminal group.

 

http://blog.soton.ac.uk/archaeology/blog/2013/07/antiquities-trafficking/

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