New York, 12 November 2022 (TDI): The Consul General of Pakistan in New York, United States (US), Ayesha Ali signed an agreement with Alvin Bragg, New York County District Attorney for the return of stolen Pakistani artifacts.

In a tweet, the Consulate General of Pakistan in New York appreciated the special investigations team from Homeland Security Investigations, for ensuring Pakistan’s ‘cultural antiquities were recovered from smuggling racketeers’ & returned to their region of origin.

Smuggling and Racketeering of cultural antiquities 

According to the United Nations (UN), the collective past of humanity includes cultural heritage. It is such a unique and important testimony to the evolution and identity of people that protecting it has been emphasized in numerous international instruments.

Organized criminal organizations are increasingly dealing in the trafficking of cultural property, both in open marketplaces like auctions and the Internet and in covert black markets.

Trafficking in cultural property is emerging as a significant source of funding for terrorist organizations as the proceeds of crime are increasingly being laundered.

A number of behaviors involved in the trafficking of cultural property may eventually result in the loss, destruction, removal, or theft of irreplaceable objects.

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The human race is denied access to historical data and artifacts from its common heritage, while criminals profit handsomely from this illegal trade.

For instance, a large number of artifacts and monuments from earlier eras are still buried underground. Archaeologists are unable to learn about the past when ancient artifacts are stolen and the locations where they were hidden are destroyed by looting.

Even though there is significant looting occurring all over the world, the efforts to combat the trafficking of cultural property have not yet been commensurate with the seriousness and scope of this criminal manifestation.