The second largest organised crime in the world, Human Trafficking, is slowly getting a new weapon in the form of mobile games, however, there is someone who is fighting against the issue. A Bengaluru-based tech start-up Mobile Premier League (MPL) 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 victims and the general public.
The RPG genre is one of the most popular and it usually involves gamers assuming the role of assassins, sorcerers, zombies or elves in American or Japanese games with names like Dungeons & Dragons. However, the Missing game on MPL, makes gamers assume the role of a trafficked girl in India.
On International day against human trafficking, Namratha Swamy, Country Manager (India) of MPL said, "We launched this game in April this year and the response from our 90 million users has 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 game is available in various languages, Hindi, English, Marathi, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Telugu, Gujarati, Maithili and Tamil, it allowed players to experience what a missing person goes through when they are trafficked, by a girl who is forced into the inhumane and cruel world of prostitution, a world into which millions of girls are lost every year. Then the players are given options to help them to escape the traffickers.
Leena Kejriwal, founder, of 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 the issue of human trafficking."
In India, on average 1827 women are 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.