Attendees of Greater Rockies Immersive Training on Exploitation and Trafficking conference (GRIT) to experience human trafficking education in interactive virtual reality
AUSTIN, Texas – Feb. 19, 2022 — Terri Markham has seen a lot of training materials and programs come across her desktop. As the executive director of Uprising, an anti-trafficking group in Wyoming, she has dedicated herself to finding unique ways to teach people about human trafficking.
Even if it means adding a new tool after a cutoff deadline.
“We finalized planning the GRIT conference, and then I heard about TRAPPED: A VR Detective Story,” says Markham. “My family had a vacation planned in Texas and the timing just worked out. I met Billy Joe at a San Antonio bookstore and we tried the VR experience right there.”
Billy Joe Cain, Radical Empathy’s president explains, “Her family dug right in. Terri’s daughter seemed to really connect with the interactive story about the 14-year-old girl.” Cain continues, “Kids don’t like hearing about this topic from adults, but when they hear about it from a peer, it gets through to them.”
Uprising set up their first Oculus Quest VR headset over a Zoom call. “They were excited to get everything started,” Cain said. “Terri and Tyson were so awesome; they were patient and we got things set up faster than I thought we would.”
Radical Empathy’s VR software is only available through a direct licensing agreement, and operates on affordable Oculus Quest VR headsets licensees purchase themselves.
Uprising is the powerful force behind the Greater Rockies Immersive Training on Exploitation and Trafficking conference (GRIT), happening from May 2-4, 2022. They purchased multiple headsets to demonstrate for hundreds of guests throughout the three-day immersive conference.
Markham will take full advantage of their software license, training attendees to see human trafficking as a local issue. She believes it is key for everyone to see how anyone could become a victim through psychological manipulation.
“The incredible immersion in VR makes such an impression on you, because it’s like you’re really there,” Markham says. “It requires a deeply personal connection to get people to take up the fight against trafficking, and our amazing VR experience makes that connection happen in 15 minutes.”
Radical Empathy demonstrated their Virtual Reality experience, TRAPPED: A VR Detective Story, at A 2nd Cup, in Houston Texas. Houston Police Human Trafficking Unit Lieutenant Angela M. Merritt spent a few minutes describing how ONE GENERATION™ can help open adult minds to this epidemic. (Turn on captions!)
ABOUT RADICAL EMPATHY EDUCATION FOUNDATION
Radical Empathy is an Austin-based nonprofit dedicated to ending human trafficking. Their VR experience include fully interactive, computer generated environments married with narrative, user-directed stories. Visit them at reefcares.org or you can help immediately here.
Uprising isn’t just an organization, it is a movement. We believe that exploitation of even one person is too much and we’re working tirelessly to shine a light on how this is happening, even in Wyoming. Working with other individuals, groups, and organizations we can create more awareness surrounding human trafficking and exploitation and expand prevention education efforts. Together we can help ensure our communities are the safest possible. Visit them at uprisingwyo.org/
Billy Joe Cain | Radical Empathy Education Foundation