Virtual reality technology is the newest way a company is educating people about human trafficking. Awake VR was in Houston during Super Bowl LI where it set up the virtual reality demonstration.
Awake VR uses virtual reality to teach people how to spot human trafficking around the world. Since debuting at the 2016 Summer Olympics, the organization has reached thousands across 40 countries. but it focuses on informing young people through the use of technology for education and prevention.
“This was created for our prevention program because we realized as many people as were being rescued, we had people who were entering it,” Kathleen Gately of Awake VR said. “So if we’re going to stop it we need to start with the children but also educate clients as well.”
While Awake VR is using this technology as part of its human trafficking prevention program, a Wichita group believes that instead of focusing on prevention, it wants to help people find value in themselves so they don’t put themselves in a situation where they can be abused.
“They key thing is to teach people to think critically and to learn their own boundaries and to have a vision and a perspective in their own mind and their own heart about what a healthy relationship is,” Dr. Karen Countryman-Roswurm of the Center for Combating Human Trafficking said.
The Willow Domestic Violence Center in Lawrence speaks at middle schools to inform students about the dangers of human trafficking.
“Someone 13 years of age, kids in that age group and younger are very vulnerable,” Joan Schultz of the Willow Domestic Violence Center said. “Those that are aging out of foster care are vulnerable. So it’s very important to educate not only adults, but children.”
To find out more information on human trafficking, or need help, call The Willow Domestic Violence Center 24-hour hotline at 785-843-3333.