Spanish documentary filmmaker Chelo Alvarez-Stehle previewed a social-impact game that will teach adolescents about human trafficking at a modern-day slavery awareness event in Frisco, Texas Jan. 25.
Still in pre-prototype form, “SOS_SLAVES: Changing The Trafficking Game” allows young adults to take on the persona of young characters from around the world, each having a storyline relating to slavery. One such character, 15-year-old Awa, has been sold to an African cocoa plantation by her uncle. By making decisions for Awa and other characters, the user helps them escape.
The education role expands as the user frees more characters and unlocks digital tools that allow him or her to take action in real life. One tool is a smart phone app that scans bar codes and reveals how much slave labor was used in an item’s production.
It’s something we don’t think about when we pull an item off the shelf.
“The beauty of technology is all the youth can really get involved,” Alvarez-Stehle says. “We need to break the silence.”
Filmmaker on front lines
Alvarez-Stehle first encountered sex trafficking as a reporter in Nepal. She was in Frisco this month showing clips from her short documentary “Sold In America” and her documentary work-in-progress “Sands of Silence.”
In her films, Alvarez-Stehle captures the stories of real women who have recovered their dignity after being forced to become sex slaves. In “Sands of Silence,” she recounts her own experiences around sexual vulnerability.
Thousands of visitors are expected to arrive in Dallas for the Feb. 6 Super Bowl, sparking an increase in prostitution. Recent federal government estimates show 20 percent of human trafficking victims come through Texas to get into the United States. It’s no secret that human trafficking is a problem in Texas, especially when popular, large-scale events come to town.
Slavery did not end in America with the Civil War. It’s not a problem to be discussed in hushed tones. It’s not a problem we should hide from our children. Human trafficking and modern-day slavery can be fought with education–and now entertainment.