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