By Wanda Beauman
In an early morning presentation on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, in a standing-room-only venue on the eighth floor of the Church Center of the United Nations, PW Jill Bolander-Cohen presented a new mobile app designed to inform middle school and high school students about trafficking scenarios that might be occurring around them. The app, called ACT! (Awareness Combats Trafficking), was commissioned by The Lifeboat Project, and functions as a game that educates as it entertains. Lifeboat Project is a Central Florida nonprofit that advocates on behalf of survivors of labor and sex trafficking. Jill is founder and executive director. She and the game's developers debuted the app as part of the NGO Forum running parallel to the 60th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. How ACT! works:
- The object of the game is for the player to ultimately recognize and correctly identify cues or “red flags” that could signify a situation where trafficking may be occurring.
- The game runs as a mobile application in 2D. "Hotspots" allow the player to click on certain objects in the scene to obtain more information.
- The player has access to lifelines that give them valid information about human trafficking and/or the characters in each episode.
Jill noted that our teens and youth are called “digital natives” because they can average upward of 53 hours a week on social media, according to Lifeboat research. One goal of this game is to meet the youth and teens in their environment and give them tools to inform and protect themselves and their peers.
ACT is in testing phase and is available for download from Lifeboat-ACT.com.
Wanda Beauman is vice moderator for justice and peace concerns for Presbyterian Women in the PC(USA), Inc.