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This tech startup is fighting human trafficking, one game at a time

The fight against Human trafficking, regarded as the second largest organised crime in the world, is getting a new weapon – mobile games. Mobile Premier League (MPL), the Bengaluru based tech start-up, has teamed up with the NGO Missing Links Trust, to launch a Role Play Game (RPG) called Missing to spread awareness about human trafficking among potential vicitms and general public.

The genre of Role Play Games (RPG) is one of the most popular genres in gaming and it usually involves gamers assuming the role of assassins, sorcerers, zombies or elf in American or Japanese games with names like Dungeons & Dragons. In a classic role reversal, the Missing game on MPL, makes gamers assume the role of a trafficked girl in India.

On the eve of the International day against human trafficking on 30th July, Namratha Swamy, Country Manager (India) of MPL said, “We launched this game in April this year and the response from our 90 million users have been overwhelmingly positive. This was among the top ten games in the first month of the launch. Since then, It has been among the top half of all the games that we host on our platform.”

The multi lingual game, available in Hindi, English, Marathi, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Telugu, Gujarati, Maithili and Tamil, is designed to allow players to experience what a missing person goes through when she is trafficked into the inhumane and cruel world of prostitution, a world into which millions of girls are lost every year. The players are introduced to multiple choices that they have to make at every step of the game with the objective of getting out of the trap set by traffickers.

Leena Kejriwal, founder, Missing Trust said, “The Missing game comes under the genre of ‘Games for Change’ by tackling the first ‘P for Prevention’ of the United Nation’s four Ps against trafficking. It is pertinent that the theme for this year’s International day against human trafficking, is ‘Use and Misuse of Technology’. Gaming is one of the most popular pastimes among youth in India and what better medium than gaming to make people aware of issue of human trafficking.”

In India, on an average 1827 women trafficked every hour and 16 million women are victims of sex trafficking every year, according to a Dasra report. About 40% of them are adolescents and children, some as young as 9 years old.

According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Maharashtra and Telangana recorded the highest number of such cases of human trafficking in 2020 followed by Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Jharkhand.


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