Serious games (SGs) provide a space of cognitive and emotional engagement where participants experience, interact, and enact social worlds that might not otherwise be possible; therefore, allowing a psychosocial meaning-making process to unfold. Moreover, SGs move beyond embedded prosocial messages and mere entertainment value and serve as facilitators of deeper and more personalized processes through creating new complex environments of embodied experiences. The process of engaging in experiential learning, actively constructing educational outcomes (e.g., constructivism), on-the-spot problem solving, and other features, make serious games qualitatively different than traditional approaches.

This presentation seeks to articulate the process by which a research and design team employed a transdisciplinary, participatory approach to develop a game-based prevention tool aimed at tackling commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). Given the complexity of CSEC, this project moves away from traditional methodologies, and presents an interactive, experientially-based approach to reducing the stigmatization of child victims and increasing empathic feelings on behalf of community members. Months of formative research, game development, and findings of in-depth analysis will be shared.

Through engaging in a simulated, role-playing safe space participants gain a deeper understanding of the risk factors and reporting mechanisms of CSEC. By creating a space where participants can think ‘as someone else,’ this CSEC prevention game (Play if Safe) allows for both solution-based dialogue to emerge and new avenues for collaboration to be explored for prevention, service provision, and data reporting of CSEC.

Beyond learning about Play if Safe, participants will have an opportunity to work alongside others in a mini game development sessions centered on their own area of interest within the larger umbrella of CSEC.


Outline/Structure of the Original Research

1. Introduction to general CSEC information and statistics (brief overview)

2. Review of existing [traditional] prevention and outreach tools

3. Introduction to serious games or games for social change (non-traditional methodologies)

4. Process of pluridisciplinary design and the development of CSEC prevention game, Playing it Safe

5. Introduction to Playing it Safe (pictures of developmental process and actual board game)

6. Demo of game with audience

7. Mini prevention game development sessions

8. Q&A

Learning Outcome

Participants will gain a deeper understanding of:

1. How to serious games, situated within entertainment-education and social learning theory, provide an avenue for CSEC prevention through increasing in dialogue and empathy while reducing stigma and reactance;

2. Barriers and opportunities of pluridisciplinary design;

3. How to effectively utilize a participatory approach (community-based) to development of CSEC prevention tools;

4. Initial stages of game development through mini session.

Target Audience

Individuals interested in research, applied [intervention/induction] tools, community dialogue building, CBO and other organizations seeking outreach tools

schedule Submitted 3 years ago

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    • Charles Hounmenou

      Charles Hounmenou - Stakeholder Engagement in the Process of Research on Child Sex Trafficking in West Africa

      60 Mins
      Original Research

      Whereas stakeholder engagement in policy implementation and service provisions to victims of human trafficking is substantially documented in the literature, there are almost no studies on stakeholder engagement in the process of research on this global problem. Yet, input from stakeholders is critical for most studies about human trafficking. Based on an international research study on child prostitution conducted in the West African region, the present paper examines the characteristics of stakeholders and the key ways they were engaged in the research process, from the preparatory stage to the translational stage. A total of 133 stakeholders in 13 major categories were involved in the research process. The paper shows how the involvement of various stakeholders in the development of the study helped improve the outcomes of the research, and most important, helped increase the likelihood of acceptance and dissemination of the findings. The paper also describes examples of implementation of the study findings by stakeholders and discusses implications for future research.