Jakarta (ANTARA News) - As many as 37 young emerging leaders from 10 ASEAN countries participate in a two-day technology workshop on transnational crimes and security, as part of the activity of Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI).

The workshop is held in Jakarta, August 23-24, 2017, by United State Mission to ASEAN, United States Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) and a nonprofit exchange organization Cultural Vistas, to enhance the participants digital literacy and communication skills on solving problems in their home countries.

The YSEALI tech camp engages participants with nine experts who master essential subjects in technology development namely creating compelling content for social media, data mining and visualization, online advocacy campaigns, design thinking, digital storytelling, crowdfunding as well as digital security.

One of the participants, Suchaya Mokkhasen, is interested to join the workshop to improve her role as special case officer for the transnational crimes at the Department of Special Investigation of the Thai Ministry of Justice.

Mokkhasen is very concern on bridging the gap between the government as policy makers and private sector as practitioners that can help investigating the crimes.

Thai government, according to her, is currently trying to cooperate with advocacy groups and private sectors to tackle down transnational crimes that are usually committed online that making it difficult to be traced down.

"The main idea is that the government comes up with policies but then it is difficult to get it implemented. With the help from technology, social media and digital advertising we hope it can be carried out practically," she said.

By identifying specialization of some organizations or companies, Thai government is hiring them as outsourcing agencies to help investigating transnational cases.

Combating crimes through technology

Meanwhile, another participant from Lao, Siliphaithoun Xayamoungkhoun, is joining the workshop to look for something new that she can learn for the efforts of combating human trafficking and migrants smuggling.

"Lao is very low tech country, however we know that the social media and internet are the new and effective trend if we know how to use it," she said.

Serving as a national project officer at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Xayamoungkhoun expects to share every information she received from the workshop to other civil society organizations, nongovernmental organizations and activists who carry the same mission as hers.

US Charge dAffaires to ASEAN Ambassador Daniel Shields said that addressing transnational crimes and security has gained momentum in US-ASEAN relations.

As the criminals have been long thinking transnational crimes, transnational network is needed to combat criminal challenges.

"The classic example is human trafficking that has becoming problem for all of our societies. We can come up with innovative ways to increase awareness and help fighting the problem that has been common concern for all of us," he noted.

The goal of YSEALI tech camp is to inspire ASEAN young leaders to utilize newly acquired digital skills and undertake projects that led to real-world impact by applying technology solutions to these challenges.

At least 20 tech camps have been taking place around the globe since 2015. The hands-on, participant-driven workshops organized by the IIP have been proven to create solutions to global issues such as application for journalists to fact-check online media content, platform to increase citizens access to information and facility of direct engagement with members of the parliament in Myanmar as well as online portal that link populations across Indonesia to open opportunities.

Recent technology workshops included Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) members working to promote peaceful elections in Africa, and civil society groups working to create opportunities for refugees in Europe and the Middle East.

"We cannot just leave technology challenges to the experts. We need the people who are passionate about this issue to step up and learn about technology, so they can be effective in addressing these problems. That is the spirit," Shields noted.

Anantya Van Bronckhorst, Co-CEO of Think.Web Indonesia leading digital & technology agency who acts as a mentor in YSEALI tech camp said that technology is tool to empower people of solving any kinds of regional problems ranging from transnational crimes to environmental protection.

Technology has been encouraging someone to be more powerful to voice what he believe in or fight for, even without assistance from other people.

"When we talk about technology, it is basically a discussion about how to engage audiences in broaden scale, intensively interact, facilitate communication and speed up the spread of information," she pointed out.


Reporter: Yashinta Difa
Editor: Bayu Kuncahyo
Copyright © ANTARA 2017