Combat against Illicit Traffic

Floris Guntenaar, Foundation, the Netherlands

Published paper: Combat against Illicit Traffic

Present unworkable situation:
The European Commission requires the owner of disputed objects to prove that an object has not been stolen.
Approximately 125 databases of missing objects are presently available on the Internet.
This decentralized storage of relevant information makes combatting illicit traffic nearly impossible. Originally meant as a public information database to be consulted by police, custom, art dealers and others, the Art Loss Register makes searching by the average Sherlock – who is not trained as an Art Historian – nearly impossible if not unworkable.
The solution to the present problem is the cooperation of museum networks working ‘bottom-up’ within their domains instead of the present ‘top-down’ process by Police, Customs and Interpol, who are bound by a diversity of laws and local regulations – which resulted in the current 125 scattered databases of stolen art.

Our paper will address these legal problems, the solutions offered based on the most recent IT developments in Collection Management Systems, a proposed data model, the synchronization of data packages and quick and the easy ‘positive’ registration and documentation of cultural heritage objects.

7 thoughts on “Combat against Illicit Traffic

  1. illicit trafficking is an international problem which needs efforts from all angles, by both heritage practitioners as well as the lawmakers/politicians

  2. Thank you for the information we hope to get solution. The elicit of objects could indirect lack of knowledge and security. Elicit could catagorize as organised crime between individuals. The museums and galleries should scrutinize who is employed by the museums/galleries.

    I am also keen to see the new IT Developments in Collection Management Systems, that are proposed.

  3. I am museum documentation officer of the Zanzibar Museum in fact we were using Object ID system to document our object unfortunately the system is collapse so that we found some in formation we face the communication problem because even internet is problem but we are together on that. we are ready to provide any in formation concerning our field.
    Thank U,
    Documentation officer
    Zanzibar Tanzania Museum

  4. Through my email we will work together by providing in formation once museum object is stolen.
    Thank U,
    Documentation officer
    Zanzibar Museum

    • Dear Ame,
      are you at the conference ? If not I can send you more info on how to be part of the Red List network and how to get the ObjectID CMS that you can use off-line as well as on-line.
      As a starter: subscribe at and you will receive all news regarding the CMS subjects and Red List.
      Regards, Floris

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