9/22/2022 Fall ’22 Designer in Residence: Karen Proctor, Improv Lab

Games as an Assessment Tool in Sex Trafficking Prevention

Sex trafficking – it’s not an easy subject to talk about, but our group was interested in exploring the problem here in the US specifically focusing on pre-teen and teenage girls.

From prior research, we knew that girls at-risk of trafficking are difficult to reach – both in terms of access and information. So we reached out to a variety of stakeholders – including social workers, a survivor of trafficking and a non-profit. Through interviews, we realized that many social workers might not know that sex trafficking is a problem in their own communities.


Our intervention ended up taking the shape of a card game, Say No More.

The game serves as an assessment tool for social workers based on players’ verbal and non-verbal reactions to the scenarios of the game, which relate to healthy and unhealthy relationship boundaries.

The game also empowers girls to practice saying no in uncomfortable situations. The rules of the game include a mandatory concluding conversation led by the social worker that use the scenarios of the cards as a starting point for further inquiry.


Research resources and references

What is Human Trafficking? United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

Human Trafficking Trends in the United States. Polaris Project, n.d. Web. 4 4 Apr. 2014.

Our Say No More project blog

Thanks also to Abi Morgan, screenwriter, Sex Traffic

Crit feedback and next steps

Can you talk to a former trafficker or a John (see Chester Brown’s Paying For It, the notes section) to round out the ‘expert’ panel you’ve organized?

What responsibility do you have publishing this project online? What ethical considerations must you navigate?

Start with the startling fact that annually this industry generates NINE-and-a-HALF BILLION dollars in the US alone.

How does the game play conclude satisfactorily or with a call to action?

Visualize the journey/timeline of the social worker in contact with her clients

Put the first person’s testimonial front and center to anchor the severity of the issue.

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