AWAKE VR: Using Virtual-Reality to shed light on the dark reality of sexual exploitation

Sexual exploitation is modern-day slavery; there are more people enslaved today than at any time in human history. What will it take to wake up the world?

AWAKE VR is a collection of Virtual-Reality videos within an Android smartphone application, each vignette telling the powerful story of an actual survivor of sexual exploitation. Viewers are immersed in an experience that is much more than a simple public service announcement. Directed and produced by Diego Traverso, AWAKE VR was created through the collaboration of two humanitarian NGOs- Operation Blessing International and 27 Million.

Benny Yu, founder of 27 Million, explains that these survivors’ stories “tell the dark truths of the horrors that they lived through…once people see and hear the truth behind the glitzy and tantalizing commercial sex-industry, they will be awakened to demand justice, rather than demanding more sexual exploitation.”

Over 4,000 people from nearly 40 countries have already experienced AWAKE VR after its initial release at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Click on the link for a glimpse of emotional viewer reactions: Awake Rio – Coming Soon Awakevr com

Now, AWAKE VR will be on the streets of Houston, Texas for Super Bowl LI from February 2-5, 2017. Discovery Green, the Arts District and NRG Stadium will all play host to this moving demonstration of the power of a victim’s story. Experience AWAKE VR and become an agent for change.

“Now that you know, what will you do to prevent this from becoming the story of someone you love?”

Contact Kathleen Gately ( for more information.

• First place, Best Virtual Reality platform at VR FEST MX 2016 in Mexico City, Mexico
• Socially Innovative Project of the Year, 2016, at the Socially Innovative Global Ethics Forum (SIGEF 2016) in Marrakesh, Morocco

Frontline News from 27Million

We believe that your stand in solidarity with the front line fight against human-trafficking will bring the end to this global issue.  We know this well since we are on the trenches ourselves.  Take some time and read through these amazing projects that we are supporting across the globe.  Together we can end modern-day slavery.

After-Care Home for Minors in Thailand


Pattaya is considered by most as the sex-tourist capital of the world.  Our partner Thrive Rescue has the only after-care facilities for minors in this hotbed of human-trafficking.  Currently, Thrive has two homes where they partner with local government entities to receive victims who have been rescued.  With these young and vibrant children continuing their healing process, 27Million provided for the dental care and braces for a number of these survivors.  Many of our partners are looking for some basic needs to be met in order to continue their labor of love for the transformation of the survivors that they work with.

Block Parties in Red-light Districts in Mexico & Brazil

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Prostitution is considered by most as the oldest profession, but at 27Million we believe that prostitution is the oldest form of oppression.  With most statistics showing globally that the average age that most women fall into prostitution is between the ages of 12-13, we know that coercion, exploitation and force are used.  27Million hosts block parties in prostitution districts to disrupt the system of sex-trafficking and to love and support the women and clients.  With a large number of volunteers invading with street decorations, live music, and food, we are able to effectively alter “business”.  We’ve also seen women leave prostitution, press charges against their traffickers, and pimps put in jail as a result.

Partnering with the UN for prevention


With the previous World Cup and upcoming Olympic Games being hosted in Brazil, we partnered with the UN GiftBox program to help bring greater awareness on human-trafficking.  27Million Brasil is the local partner for this program and we’ve taken the UN GiftBox into public squares and venues throughout Brazil to reach the public with this message.  We’ve also partnered with government entities to bring this awareness and we’re witnessing systemic change occurring to shift perspectives, worldviews, and legislation in regards to human-trafficking.

Brothel Outreach in Brazil


Throughout the past 12 years Tio Pedro has been relentlessly loving on the women in Belo Horizonte, where they are forced to sell their bodies over 20 times a day in order to meet their quotas, causing them to swirl into unsurmountable debt. Tio Pedro has developed amazing relationships and has the freedom to walk directly into the brothels and hosts monthly birthday parties for the women. These parties have been the bridge through which Tio Pedro has helped women come out of sex slavery. Women have been rescued and restored to find jobs, buy homes, and get married!  Throughout the years Tio Pedro has been paying for these parties out of pocket. 27Million has stepped in to fund these additional parties, increase his influence and help him rescue many more women to freedom and renewed lives.

Prevention work in Romania


Our partner eLiberare exists to fight sexual exploitation by bringing awareness to the local communities by educating them on the reality of the situation in Romania. Romania has been a source country for the majority of the sex-trafficked women throughout the European Union. 27Million assisted in the acquisition of prevention material so that eLiberare can continue their awareness tours throughout Romania. They have been reaching local communities providing education on steps for prevention through seminars and specialized trainings. Doors have opened for assistance to transitional homes which aid survivors in their journey back to healing and restoration.


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