Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS) is the only organization in New York State specifically designed to serve girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking. GEMS was founded in 1998 by Rachel Lloyd, a young woman who had been sexually exploited as a teenager. GEMS has helped hundreds of young women and girls, ages 12–24, who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and to develop to their full potential. GEMS provides young women with empathetic, consistent support and viable opportunities for positive change.
Girls Educational and Mentoring Services’ (GEMS) mission is to empower girls and young women, ages 12–24, who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and develop to their full potential. GEMS is committed to ending commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking of children by changing individual lives, transforming public perception, and revolutionizing the systems and policies that impact sexually exploited youth.
What They Do…
Prevention & Outreach initiatives focus on educating youth about the risks and causes of commercial sexual exploitation. By spreading awareness, GEMS works to build safer, more productive communities and families while offering young survivors a space to both heal and reach their full potential.
Direct Intervention: GEMS’ goal is to empower sexual exploitation survivors to become self sufficient, healthy, competent, and able to build a strong support system. For many CSEC survivors, healing is a long term process developed through consistent support and an overall commitment to holistic care focused on youth development. It is unrealistic to expect survivors of trauma to be able to negotiate day-to-day independent living without first developing a clear sense of capabilities, autonomy, and readiness. Therefore we provide short-term and crisis care, court advocacy, transitional and supportive housing and holistic case management.
Youth Development Program addresses young women’s developmental, social, and emotional needs through strengths-based programming. Commercially sexually exploited young women often need encouragement to become aware of their inherent value and innate potential. GEMS does not believe in treating youth simply as passive victims, but works to develop young women’s sense of self as empowered and competent. Providing a strong sense of agency, structure and accountability is vital for young women’s development into self-sufficient, independent young adults. GEMS sets high standards and expectations for its members, confident that youth will strive to develop their full potential when given the right resources and tools.
Empowering Survivors to express their experiences, observations, and desires for a better life and world is at the core of GEMS’ program philosophy. Read the recent expressions that girls and young women participating in our programs have contributed here.
Their Wish List…
Get Involved: Spread the word! Subscribe to our newsletter, TALK about commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking with friends and family.
Watch (and host a screening party) of the film Very Young Girls. Discussion guides and more info here.
Read (and host a book club) Girls Like us. Discussion guides and more info here.
Shop! By purchasing GEMS merchandise you are supporting an amazing cause and raising awareness.
Volunteer with us!
GEMS is all about Peer-Mentorship! Youth have so many places to assist in the organization
GEMS’ Youth Outreach Team conducts peer-led facility-outreach workshops in residential and detention facilities across New York City and Westchester. Workshops raise awareness about the realities of the commercial sex industry for girls and young women at risk for commercial sexual exploitation while also providing peer support and leadership. A youth-friendly curriculum is used to facilitate open and honest discussion about commercial sexual exploitation of children, domestic violence, and other societal factors contributing to its prevalence today. Learn more here for the topics they cover.