The Cultural Heritage Laws Database provides a valuable tool for the fight against looting, theft, illegal export and import, as well as illicit trafficking of cultural property.
By compiling the national laws of its Member States, UNESCO offers all stakeholders involved (Governments, customs officials, art dealers, organizations, lawyers, buyers) a complete and easily accessible source of information. In the event of a legal question about the origin of an object, the database offers rapid access to the relevant national laws. Both States and art markets stand to gain from this: while free access to national laws allows good faith buyers to easily verify the legal antecedents of cultural property, it will make it harder for traffickers to claim to be ignorant of the law and thus of the illegal nature of what they are doing.
The project for the development of UNESCO Cultural Heritage Laws Database is generously funded by the United States of America.