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How people use TRAPPED: A VR Detective Story to educate others

“Some groups ask survivors to speak to the public, and sometimes it’s very hard to get some members of the public to acknowledge trafficking could happen to someone they love. 

Billy Joe Cain - PBJ Learning | Radical Empathy Education Foundation
Billy Joe Cain – | Radical Empathy Education Foundation

In training situations, the VR application does the difficult work of teaching about the ‘invisible chains.’

This tool can help prevent survivors from having their lived experience questioned, which means they receive less mental injury during their training and can allow them to begin discussions about trafficking at a higher level.

This is the strongest case for this product to exist, in my opinion.”

Billy Joe Cain, President, Radical Empathy Education Foundation

Everyone is encouraged to use the VR empathy module training software in any way they wish. Here are a few real-world use cases from our licensees.

Community-based in-person human trafficking prevention training

Our VR application is the perfect add-on to any training you are already providing. Hundreds of survivors and trainers have told us that the interactive virtual reality story creates a strong emotional connection to the learning material you cannot consistently create in any other way. 

Community awareness at outreach events

The VR app gets people to understand the psychological manipulation that is nearly impossible to teach. People broaden their understanding of the topic from “this only happens at the border” to “this could be happening to my children” in only 15 minutes.

Share the VR experience with in-person visitors to their physical locations

Our licensees keep a headset at their physical locations for guests. We were with Southern Grit Advocacy in Wichita Falls, Texas, when they had their mayor and chief of police visit their office.

Individual donor cultivation

You get to have a very personal interaction with a donor when they use this experience. This image is from demonstrating TRAPPED: A VR Detective Story at The Landing, a Houston-area drop-in shelter, on a special evening with their board and donors.

Public fundraising events

Donors get a hands-on experience using the VR application. There are many groups that support on-site fundraising, like GroupRaise.

Fundraising gala support

Donors get a hands-on experience at the gala itself. I have personally supported almost a dozen annual “gala” events for nonprofits across America.

Legislative and city leadership education

You don’t get enough time with leadership. so our VR application does all the work to wake them up and keep their attention. All you have to do is get them to put on a headset.

Texas state representative Tony Tinderholt shows his reaction in this .

Middle and high school human trafficking prevention training (in-school and after school)

Your software license allows you to use the training software anywhere you like. Train students, parents, and administration in any class on your campus, day or night. 

Parent Nights

Middle school students at Vista Innovation and Design Academy (VIDA) ask their teacher to have Parents’ Nights where they teach parents about human trafficking and make their parents use the VR application.

Read more about VIDA here.

Immersive Training Case Study

Lisa’s story from TRAPPED: A VR Detective Story was used as a Case Study for every attendee of the Greater Rockies Immersive Training Conference (GRIT). Each session included a way to relate to Lisa’s situation. Here’s a video explanation.

Cross Medium / Cross Reality Learning Experience

Uprising bought physical versions of the virtual items in the VR experience to bring the whole experience to life. They place them on site at events with Info Cards they created to go along with the items, so there is extra story and learning outside the headsets.

Read more about this story here.

Medical student training enhancement

Medical students at University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) use it alongside in-class training, so students understand the emotional manipulation behind trafficking.

University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth. Room full of students using virtual reality headsets and TRAPPED: A VR Detective Story. UNTHSC.

Research on VR Training Effectiveness

UNTHSC studied the effectiveness of how our Virtual Reality training can change real-world behavior and improve long-term retention of learning objectives. Initial results were amazing, but research remains to be completed. Read more about Dr. Felini, the organizer of the license, here.

Job Training

We are committed to investing in our future, so we share our materials with groups that are willing to commit to using them to train their students.

Austin Independent School District’s McCallum High School uses the VR application’s source code and art in job training classes. 

Social emotional learning (SEL) and counseling

Social emotional learning (SEL) is a methodology that helps students of all ages to better comprehend their emotions, to feel those emotions fully, and demonstrate empathy for others. These learned behaviors are then used to help students make positive, responsible decisions; create frameworks to achieve their goals, and build positive relationships with others

Guy Berry College & Career Academy in Arkansas plans to use the virtual reality application and its power to raise empathy to begin small group trainings and open up discussions with school counselors. 

Psychological discussion kickoff

An adolescent addiction specialist from the Austin area uses the VR app in his practice to give concrete examples of how children can be manipulated and to open the door to talking about many other difficult topics related to the experience: divorce, abandonment, sextortion, use, abuse, rape, violence, pregnancy, etc. 


Radical Empathy Education Foundation (REEF) is an Austin-based nonprofit dedicated to ending human trafficking in one generation. To capture the attention of young adults, they use virtual reality experiences that include fully interactive, computer generated environments married with narrative, user-directed stories. To support REEF’s work, please visit https://www.reefcares.org/donate/