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Launch of an educational simulation ‘game’ to combat online grooming and sex trafficking

Posted on Jun 16, 2022

Copyright A21 2022


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Educational simulation ‘game’ to combat online grooming and sex trafficking

Announcing the launch of ‘May and Bay’, a new interactive game aimed at preventing online child sexual exploitation and abuse of children


A new culturally informed educational ‘game’ has been developed to help educate children and young people across Thailand and Cambodia on how to spot the signs of online grooming and recognise the tactics that abusers and traffickers employ.

Known as May and Bay, the simulations follow(s) the stories of two children as they encounter the insidious world of online grooming. Designed for children aged 8-14, the mock, virtual online interactive scenarios encourage children’s critical thinking and autonomous decision-making skills in an online environment and empowers children to understand how their actions can keep their characters – and therefore themselves – safe. 

Developed by the University of Kent’s Centre for Child Protection, in collaboration with ECPAT International, A21, Playerthree, and the University of Stirling, the game aims to enable the comprehensive training of professional practitioners and those working directly with children in Cambodia and Thailand, with the age-appropriate tools to educate children about online safety.

Jane Reeves, Emeritus Professor at Kent’s Centre for Child Protection leading the collaborative project from development through to launch, following a funding grant from the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children (End Violence Partnership) said: ‘Online child sexual exploitation and abuse and sex trafficking are ongoing global problems, particularly in Thailand and Cambodia. Thanks to the local knowledge of partners ECPAT, A21 and local focus groups, May and Bay will demonstrate these dangers and help children and young people to learn in a way that is meaningful to them – in a safe environment.’

Professor Reeves and the Centre for Child Protection, alongside Playerthree gaming company, have developed several digital games on child protection issues that are successful, at scale and well received by professionals and young people. 

 

ABOUT

The Centre for Child Protection

Launched in October 2012, the Centre for Child Protection based at the University of Kent aims to get to the heart of child protection training by using innovative ideas and the latest technology. It combines contemporary research with an online multi-professional distance-learning advanced MA, standalone modules, and cutting-edge child protection simulations.


ECPAT International 

ECPAT International is a global network of over 122 civil society organisations, in over 100 countries, working towards the vision of ending the sexual exploitation of children. With over 30 years of experience in engaging with and managing multi-stakeholder processes and alliances across national, regional and global levels; ECPAT works to end the sexual exploitation of children.


A21

A21 is a global anti-human trafficking organisation dedicated to abolishing slavery everywhere, forever. While there are millions enslaved in the world today, A21 continues to focus on the one—the one man, the one woman, and the one child trapped in slavery. 

Our holistic approach to abolishing modern-day slavery is to Reach, Rescue, and Restore lives by reducing vulnerability, assisting victims, and empowering survivors. Through partnerships and the efforts of supporters all over the globe, A21 believes human trafficking and exploitation can be prevented, victims can be identified and assisted, perpetrators can be brought to justice, and millions of survivors can step into a life of independence.


Playerthree

Playerthree is an independent games development company with a reputation for creating original games with high production values. It has over two decades of experience working directly with content publishers such as the BBC, Cartoon Network, Disney, Sky, Nickelodeon, Sega and Sony. It has also created games and apps for consumer brands including Coca Cola, Kraft, Pernod Ricard, DHL & KFC. Educational games, games-for-change, ‘edutainment’ are also a speciality production area. Playerthree has consistently produced original content for BBC Bitesize, the Science Museum, The United Nations and the University of Kent. Often dealing with some very challenging subject areas, it has always been able to seamlessly weave educational, factual content into rewarding and challenging gameplay. The results have attracted millions of users to its content and websites. 

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