MISSING: Leena Kejriwal's game on child sex trafficking will shake you up

Durga M Sengupta @the_bongrel | First published: 22 November 2016, 15:35 IST
Missing game

Imagine waking up in a cold dark room with no windows. Imagine not knowing where you are or how you got there. Imagine not remembering your own name.

Now, you're given a new name, a new set of clothes, and, for induction, you're raped. The objective, of course, is to escape.

That's the bleak premise the role-playing game Missing: Game for a Cause, by Leena Kejriwal, establishes. It's the story of many young girls trafficked into the sex trade who disappear overnight and become a mere statistic on a missing persons list.

Not child's play

We played the game, disturbing as it was, and quickly went from wanting the put the phone away due to discomfort to desperately wanting the help the protagonist, Champa, escape the brothel.

The player plays as Champa and he/she must play through all the traumatic experiences she has in the story. It can be harrowing, feel voyeuristic, and, as in the case of my colleague, make you very angry.

Missing game

SPOILERS (Please continue reading from the next subhead if you're looking to avoid spoilers)

Champa must solicit customers by drawing their attention. She must haggle for the right rate, sometimes using food and alcohol for coercion. Each potential customer, when clicked on, shows how much money and interest they have.

Missing game

If they're rich and bored, Champa must give them alcohol to change their minds. After this, follows the sex that, fortunately, we don't get to see.

The only time one sees the inside of Champa's bedroom for customers is when her rapist Shonty brings a young boy to her. Interestingly, the tables turn when the boy confesses that he was worried she would sexually assault him.

Missing game