Southeast Asia is a diverse and dynamic region that is heavily impacted by its maritime geography; the volume of trade that flows through the region; and China’s military, economic, and cultural influence. These factors mean that Southeast Asia is a critical hub for illicit actors that rely on global trade, such as wildlife traffickers and proliferators. This also means it is particularly vulnerable to the pitfalls of rampant development, such as sovereignty issues related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative and labor rights violations. These convergence points make Southeast Asia a pivotal region for tracing illicit networks and understanding threats to global security and governance.
At C4ADS, we are particularly concerned with how geopolitical interests (like China’s maritime militia or foreign-invested economic zones in the Mekong region) converge with illicit activity. C4ADS investigates this diverse range of threats by integrating data from across jurisdictions to follow bad actors beyond borders. This analytical focus is complemented by partnerships with civil society organizations working in or on the region, whose expertise allow both C4ADS and its partners to better inform analysis and disrupt the threats facing Southeast Asia.