Reality-based adventure game ‘MISSING’ to create mass awareness to prevent sex trafficking

We often see news of people being illegally trafficked from India for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation, forced/bonded labour and so on. As per a study by Reuters, out of an estimated 20 million commercial prostitutes in India, 16 million women and girls are victims of sex trafficking. And to create awareness about it, Mobile Premier League (MPL) recently added on its platform an anti-trafficking game called MISSING jointly with Missing Link Trust NGO to prevent sex trafficking.

Leena Kejriwal

Speaking with AnimationXpress, Missing Link trust founder Leena Kejriwal shared, “MISSING Game For A Cause is a role-playing game designed to put players in the decision-making seat to make choices and assess risks to experience what a ‘missing girl’ goes through when she is trafficked. The game is a combination of adventure, puzzles (environmental and micromanagement) and RPG. The purpose is to invoke discomfort in the player through the intensive and claustrophobic experience of being in the victim’s shoes. MISSING is a game for a change; it is looking to bring social change and raise dialogue to #EndDemand.”

This reality-based adventure game allowes players to experience what an abductee faces when she is trafficked into the inhumane and cruel world of prostitution, a world into which millions of girls are lost every year.

Earlier during the launch, MPL GM and India head Namratha Swamy said: “We are excited to onboard an innovative game like MISSING which aims to spread awareness and prevent sex trafficking. MPL has always been focused on getting innovative and skill-based games of different genres on its platforms to cater to a wider audience. We are confident that Missing Link Trust’s innovative game  and MPL’s cutting edge technology will ensure greater reach and awareness about prevention of sex trafficking.” 

The player walks the path of Champa who is imprisoned in the red light area of the city, making choices and assessing risks to make her escape from the elusive freedom.

The game is  already LIVE for India to play, apart from the MPL app, and players can find the game on Google Playstore and Apple store in 12 vernacular languages for mass outreach.

Kejriwal added, “MISSING Game is developed in a responsive format and is primarily targeted at Android and iOS users and is easily playable by  anyone with access to a smartphone. This gives us the ability to reach and create awareness amongst a vast and varied, urban and rural audience, especially remote areas where other traditional means of awareness generation cannot penetrate with ease.”

The idea is to change minds online using technology for a wider reach. As per Kejriwal, “The gaming community is 80 per cent male and the game aims to sensitise players and challenge entitlement. I felt that to see a mural or visit an exhibition, people still had to step out.  So I thought of engaging with people by bringing the art to them in the form of a game that would engage them on the issue, and take them through an immersive experience of reality. MISSING game leaves a deeper impact which forces one to act, making them run for their lives.”

The storyline for the game is based on interviews with victims and survivors. “The scenarios that are found in the game are the outcome of these interviews with hundreds of “missing” girls, as well as rescuers and social workers, but the game is a fictional work based on true stories and does not portray any actual person or specific events,” she clarified.

The development of the game commenced in October 2015 when the team interviewed hundreds of trafficked survivors and victims in villages and red light areas. The first version of the game was then released on Google Play and Apple app store in October 2016. 

“The main purpose is to spread awareness of trafficking through immersive and innovative methods. In the end, players will be motivated to intervene when they see the “missing girl” in real life and get responsible for another girl when she goes missing,” she concluded.