Marcos Mejía López, María Esther Morales Fajardo and Paulina Angélica Gamboa Vega of the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (UAEM) spoke on the loss of cultural patrimony in violent conflicts such as Iraq and Syria.
The researchers from the Architecture and Design Department at UAEM said that the black market for historical artifacts from Iraq and Syria, especially from cities such as Hatra and Apamea, is one of the results of armed conflicts that leads to further loss and destruction.
They said that preserving cultural heritage is not a priority during armed conflicts and is difficult to prevent and stop. They said that theft of historical artifacts is one of the most profitable activities of organized crime.
They added that the Parliament of the United Kingdom reported that in the year 2000, black market sales totaled over $6 billion. The FBI of the United States reported $4-6 billion in black market sales in 2010. This represents the biggest black market in the world, after illegal arms sales and drug trafficking.
The International Council on Museums has found that trafficking of artifacts takes place due to robberies from museums, monuments, religious sights and illegal archeological excavations.