Make young people more resilient to criminal recruitment

Delivering a parcel or being on the lookout for a reward. It seems innocent, but for many young people this is the start of their criminal career. Often, there is no way back. There’s no escape… The mobile escape room ‘Dirty Money’ makes young people aware of the dangers and consequences of criminal activities. It also aims to increase their resilience.

Escape room Dirty Money. Fotocredit: Marianne van der Quast


Serious escape room


Municipality, schools, society

Number of players

4-10 players


Awareness, crime, youth education


45-60 minutes



Learning objective: raise awareness of 12-15 and 16+ year-olds against criminal recruitment and make them more resilient.

The question Creating awareness

Throughout the Netherlands, young people come into contact with crime at an early age. Young people with problematic backgrounds are particularly susceptible to helping criminal organisations. The first contact with such an organisation can have a very low-threshold and seem innocent. They may be on the lookout for a street dealer, make their bank account available for money laundering, or deliver packages as a pizza courier. Because of the urge to belong and gain status, these activities often lead to a further career in crime.

Empowering young people is crucial in preventing young recruits from joining criminal organisations. Recognising the situations in which they are recruited for a criminal activity can be a first step. Learning to say ‘no’ also strengthens young people’s resilience. The RIEC wanted to draw attention to this social challenge in a unique way during the Security Week.

Escape room Dirty Money. Fotocredit: Marianne van der Quast

The solution Dirty Money

An exciting escape room in which young people are confronted with jobs that can earn them quick ‘Dirty Money’. They also experience that there is a whole criminal world behind it. For example, they are asked to prepare an order of drugs. In the process, they learn what risks and consequences are involved.

We opted for a mobile game that transforms a classroom with a few attributes into a real escape room. Because of the exciting setting, you notice that students are really absorbed in the game. Afterwards, the game is evaluated with the students. They are asked what they did in the game and whether they have ever seen it happen in real life. The combination of experiencing and evaluating makes students alert to subversive activities in daily life. The game comes in two versions. A set for young people aged 12 to 15 and a set for 16+.

Escape room Dirty Money. Fotocredit: Marianne van der Quast

The result Experience and evaluate

The escape room ‘Dirty Money’ was used at three schools during the Week of Safety 2020. After playing, the students were noticeably open to an honest discussion about subversion. Personal stories came up. From swallowing pills during a school trip to refugee children who were asked to help deal with drugs.  

The success did not go unnoticed. After the first results, the RIEC received so many requests from schools to also get started with the escape room, that extra game sets were requested.

"The escape room provides a good result. Teachers indicate that the escape room removes some naivety about subversion from both them and the students. Through more awareness, the teacher and the class are growing closer to each other."

Wendy van der Krift, Project leader for resilient youth at RIEC Noord

Do you want to create awareness?

We would be happy to help you create and spar about creating awareness among young people, but also among other target groups. Please feel free to inquire about the possibilities by contacting us.  

Verder praten?

This post is also available in: Nederlands

Interesse? Neem contact op!

Koen Fraijman

Serious Game Expert

T: 015 20 24 772

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