A criminology study from the University of Glasglow traces how art smuggling networks are able to reach legitimate buyers. They use various regional intermediaries to make archaeological theft seem unique.
“This is an important study, adding to our very limited knowledge of the early stages of trafficking networks in looted cultural heritage. The research shows how looting of temples connects to the public international market in cultural objects, and we found there were in this case relatively few steps between collectors and the looters. It raises serious questions for collectors of Khmer antiquities, who may not have been aware of the illicit origins of the artefacts they have bought. Encouraging stringent provenance checking of prospective acquisitions by buyers in the market is key to preventing the criminal side of the antiquities trade from flourishing.”