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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Causes > Nonprofit > Nonprofit Spotlight: Helping sexually exploited girls see the value in their lives and what ‘GEMS’ they really are

Nonprofit Spotlight: Helping sexually exploited girls see the value in their lives and what ‘GEMS’ they really are

LatinaLista — The term ‘human trafficking’ doesn’t begin to relay the true cost of emotional and physical damage done to the women, girls and children victimized by what is a barbaric international business.

It is reported by mental health officials that many of the victims who have been sexually exploited see their lives and themselves as being worthless and feel that society doesn’t care about them. One woman, Rachel Lloyd, a survivor of sexual exploitation who had turned her life around and was working as a missionary counseling women exiting from the commercial sex industry, was alarmed when she saw too many girls at-risk for sexual exploitation being ignored by traditional social service agencies.

She knew she had to do something before those girls ended up at the mercy of pimps. In 1998, Lloyd formed GEMS – Girls Educational & Mentoring Services, “one of the largest providers of services to commercially sexually exploited and domestically trafficked youth in the US.”

GEMS offers an array of services to at-risk girls. From prevention and outreach to staging interventions and promoting educational initiatives to court advocacy,providing an alternative to incarceration and empowering survivors, GEMS’ vision is to end the commercial exploitation and trafficking of children.

The New York City-based group only serves women and girls in New York state but works with organizations from around the country offering training and their research to help spread the method of unlocking the potential success buried in every sexually exploited girl who thinks her life has no value.

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