Mission & History

About GEMS

Photo by Feven

 

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. Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS) was founded in 1998 by Rachel Lloyd in response to an overwhelming need for services for girls and young women at risk for commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking who were being ignored by traditional social service agencies. GEMS’ programming is gender responsive, trauma informed, developmentally grounded, strengths based, social justice oriented, and culturally competent. GEMS’ founding principles reside in survivor leadership and transformational relationships. GEMS’ services are based on the needs and interests of survivors and the agency’s programming is developed based on survivors’ ideas, input, and expertise.  GEMS provides young women with empathetic, consistent support and viable opportunities for positive change.

 

Mission

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.

Vision

GEMS’ vision is to end the commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children.

Philosophy

We believe that all young women have great beauty and worth, and the potential for future success. The voices and experiences of youth survivors are integral to the development and implementation of all GEMS’ programming.

History

Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS) was founded in 1998 by Rachel Lloyd in response to an overwhelming need for services for girls and young women at risk for commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking who were being ignored by traditional social service agencies.  Ms. Lloyd came to the U.S in 1997 as a missionary to work with adult women exiting the commercial sex industry. While working with adult women in correctional facilities and on the streets, Ms. Lloyd observed the overwhelming need for services for young women at risk for sexual exploitation who were being ignored by traditional social service agencies. It became clear that specialized services were essential for this disenfranchised population.

From a one-woman kitchen table project, GEMS has grown to a nationally recognized and acclaimed organization and now is one of the largest providers of services to commercially sexually exploited and domestically trafficked youth in the US. GEMS advocates at the local, state, and national level to promote policies that support young women who have been commercially sexually exploited and domestically trafficked.

Photo by Feven