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Girls Educational and Mentoring Services

2012 National Crime Victim Service Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

Girls Educational and Mentoring Services | National Crime Victim Service Award
New York, New York

Girls Educational and 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. Founded in 1998 by Rachel Lloyd, who was sexually exploited as a teenager, GEMS has helped hundreds of girls and young women, ages 12–24, exit the commercial sex industry and begin to develop to their full potential. 

GEMS members have often survived horrific crimes, and the organization has modeled its programming accordingly to meet victims’ specific needs. The agency’s Victim, Survivor, Leader model of empowerment is the bedrock of its spectrum of long-term, comprehensive services, including prevention, outreach, and direct intervention. 

Through long-term engagement with GEMS, the nearly 350 victims who the agency serves annually can obtain housing, counseling, and legal aid, while advancing their education and employability. Because of the success of GEMS members and their mentoring roles at the agency, families break cycles of abuse, and educated and empowered youth are armed with the tools necessary to overcome poverty and violence and help create more equitable, just communities. 

GEMS’ philosophy is that all girls and young women have great beauty, worth, and the potential for future success. The organization’s work on behalf of victims of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, who are often rendered invisible, is groundbreaking, far reaching, and unparalleled.