CHARLESTON, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) – “When you play, traffickers pay,” is the idea behind a newly launched mobile game developed by a professor and college students at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.
Spike Shot profits go directly toward ending human trafficking globally, and it is believed to be the first of its kind, raising funds for a cause. The game can be downloaded on IOS or Android.
“We’re actually able to take that money and give it to the people who are skilled to go out, and interrupt, restore those affected by trauma and actually bring them back to a normal life again,” Evan Kubicek, who created the idea, said.
Money from the game goes toward the not-for-profit group All Things Possible.
All Things Possible tirelessly works to Identify predators and pass that information to Law Enforcement so they can Interrupt the cycle of exploitation anywhere in the world and. We support the full Restoration for victims of trauma so they can once again experience hope and freedom. Spikeshot is a simple game that anyone can play even if they don’t fully understand the intentionality behind it. The revenue generated from the game is directly applied to ATP’s mission sets so you can make a difference. We also ask that in the midst of enjoying the game, that you pause every so often and think about the boys and girls that need our help. It may seem too simple but it is not. Kind thoughts and prayers of hope can be the thing that helps someone hold on just a bit longer.”Jeff Tiegs, Chief Operating Officer, All Things Possible Ministries
“Only 1% of human trafficking crimes are ever reported and 1% or less of human traffickers are ever caught or arrested. So there’s this huge gap on what’s happening and how to deal with it,” Kubicek said. “All Things Possible is funded by an international martial artist, pretty much dedicated his life to helping people. He’s brought people around him, some of the people on his team are former Delta Special Forces operators. They train law enforcement, they help build the cases. They will actually use their skillsets from the military to track and monitor and build a case. They can turn the data over to local law enforcement and say here is the person, here’s where they’re at, here’s their schedule, here’s their pattern.”
Kubicek said his experience working in around 20 countries over the years has shown him that human trafficking is not just an issue “out there.”
“It’s in our backyard. I know specifically from our area, where someone was trafficked in Indianapolis, they were picked up somewhere locally they were taken to Indy and then they were gone,” he said. “Kids are getting solicited and groomed for two to three years before they ever make the jump from home and leave. So our 12 to 13 to 14-year-olds are getting messages on their social media all the time.”
Kubicek is an entrepreneurial and marketing professor at Eastern Illinois University. He said he had some time to kill during quarantine, so he hired a developer, built the mobile game, then recruited the help of the EIU Entrepreneurship Club.
“It’s a very unique opportunity because a lot of the entrepreneurship classes teach you to be your own boss and make money, but we don’t get a lot of the social component a lot of times,” Josh Thor, president of the entrepreneurship club said.
Thor said a part of that social component has been reaching out to campus groups, news media and even celebrities to get the word out about spike shot.
“We used Cameo to reach out to a few, we contacted Paul Lieberstein, he is Toby from the Office, so we got him to make a satirical video for Spike Shot for us which is very funny and we contacted Danica McKellar, Hallmark star and ‘The Wonder Years’ got her to release something on Twitter.”
Graduating from EIU in December, Thor said this is the kind of project he’s wanted to work on for a while.
“The entrepreneurship club, when I first joined wasn’t a whole lot other than meeting and just kind of talking with local entrepreneurs and talking about business,” he said. “When you’re in a club you want to do something more active, the big thing last year when I became president of the club, I was talking to Evan about how I wanted to do something that we could do outside of every other Monday for an hour and a half or so. We talked about projects, but a lot of them fell through especially since corona happened. Obviously, when corona happened, Evan had time to find this idea and figure it out. Once we got back together and met on Zoom it was just time for us to all be excited about something.”
Kubicek said a portion of the money generated through the game will always go toward putting an end to human trafficking, but from now until January 1, 100% of the money generated will go toward All Things Possible.
“Everyone agrees that human trafficking is bad, but no one knows what to do about it. Like how can I, just around this area, do anything about it, now everyone has a tool,” Kubicek said.