On October 24th, Billy Joe Cain spoke at IncubatorCTX about using virtual reality to teach educators and youth on how to prevent human trafficking.
His program “TRAPPED: A VR Detective Story” is a 3D, interactive virtual reality experience, that allows the user to become Lisa, a 14-year-old girl lured into trafficking by a boy she met online. This narrative journey enables users to explore her world, piece together important clues, and learn how she fell under the control of an abuser. It provides awareness of human trafficking, educating users on grooming techniques and how to recognize the signs of human trafficking. Cain began his idea after a profound personal experience which caused him to realize that, being the 2nd largest criminal enterprise in the world, human trafficking happens in every country, every city, and on every day of the year. During his speaker series, he also discussed what techniques traffickers use, such as violence, fear, threats, and intimidation. Partnered with Allies Against Slavery, Traffick911, Texas Attorney General’s Office of Human Trafficking, and many others, Cain and Radical Empathy Education Foundation are on a mission to end human trafficking in one generation.
In order to fulfill this, Cain believes that society must promote awareness of human trafficking. He states that “leveraging new technology is [the] key” to do this. With technology, learning objectives can be measured and adjusted after uses and retention can be measured. Not only are his virtual reality games based off of accurate, rigorous materials, VR also creates and establishes empathy. According to Cain, VR is intimate and personal. It turns a troubling situation into something fun. His talk showed us that users felt that the simulation games made learning 62% more fun. Other successes are that VR makes people more confident by 44% and those who use it are 43% more likely to seek out new learning material to help them better understand the signs and increase their awareness.
Cain states that “trafficking is a huge, almost completely invisible problem, worldwide” and that prevention education is the best answer to end human trafficking.
Written by Kinsley Fisher