Caritas Asia kicked off the year 2016 with the Regional Training on Information and Communication Technology in Combating Trafficking in Persons, held at Beat Hotel, Bangkok on 19-21 January 2016. The training attracted 50 participants from 28 Asian MOs, 22 CI partners and other like-minded organizations from across the globe, including the Migration Relief Services of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB-MRS), Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH), UN-ACT, Microsoft Asia, and other UN agencies.
The participants learned that various tools on information communication technology are now available, or in the process of development, to aid in curbing incidence of human trafficking. These tools, which are providing operating systems to smart phones and newer computer systems, can be very effective tools for the use of anti-trafficking advocates, law enforcement agencies, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and inter-governmental organizations.
The main purpose of the training was to make member organizations aware of the wide array of technologies available to combat trafficking in all its forms. The training assisted participants how to use modern communication and information technologies in their anti-trafficking works.
Among the speakers in the training was a senior director of Microsoft – Asia, who narrated that Microsoft’s operating system is used by a great majority of computer systems and has branched out to the smart phone and tablet- computing environment. Developers are creating applications that are user-friendly and capable of thwarting the intentions of traffickers, agents and their allies. He encouraged the participants to also use the technology of Microsoft and assured them of Microsoft’s support for any initiative.
In the training, Secours Catholique – Caritas France, shared to the participants a video showcasing a story about poverty and trafficking in the setting of Cambodia. The director and producer of the video, who was also present in the training, encouraged the participants to use the video as part of their materials for raising awareness on the issue of trafficking in person. The director noted that with the wide presence of the Caritas confederation in the world, many communities from various countries in Asia and beyond, could learn a lot from the video and help in the prevention of the trafficking of vulnerable persons.
One of the immediate outcomes of the Regional ICT Training is that the participants became aware and familiar with the various mobile and desktop applications, or other technological innovations that can be used in responding to trafficking issues as well as in maximizing partnerships and collaboration. The participants realized just how much potential benefit modern technology could provide in the AHT work.