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GEMS Congratulates NYPD on Expanded Resources to Combat Sex Trafficking

 

   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 13, 2017

Rachel Lloyd
201 W. 148th Street, Ground Floor
New York, NY 10039
212-926-8089
rlloydasst@gems-girls.org
www.gems-girls.org

 

GEMS Congratulates NYPD on Expanded Resources to Combat Sex Trafficking

Creation of NYPD Hotline Will Provide Critical Resources for Victims in Need of Support

 

NEW YORK, NY, February 13 – Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS) commends the City of New York for deepening its commitment to justice for survivors of human trafficking.  First Lady Chirlane McCray and NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neil announced on Wednesday the expansion of resources to combat sex trafficking in New York City, including the creation of a hotline exclusively dedicated to investigating trafficking crimes.  In addition to establishing the hotline, the NYPD will assign 25 additional detectives to work on fighting sex trafficking in the city.  The department will engage the community through a public awareness campaign to educate New Yorkers about sex trafficking, its warning signs, the new hotline, and how to access support and resources.

Of the department’s announcement, Rachel Lloyd, Founder and CEO of GEMS, herself a survivor of commercial sexual exploitation, said, “GEMS has worked with the Vice Unit for the last ten years, and, each year, honors an anti-trafficking law enforcement officer with the Detective Adam Frasse Public Service Award. The award is named for the late Detective Frasse who made a significant difference in the lives of many of our girls and young women. Throughout the past decade, the expansion of the unit from a handful of committed officers working at a time when trafficking was seen as a victimless crime to a now-substantial unit supported by the First Lady and Commissioner is truly rewarding and would make Detective Frasse proud.”

GEMS knows that detectives who are sensitive to the trauma victims have experienced and who treat them with dignity are invaluable. A GEMS alumna who was supported by the Vice Unit in prosecuting her trafficker said, “The detective who helped me was amazing, and I’m so glad that more girls will be able to get that type of support and be able to finally have justice.”

Julie Laurence, Chief Program Officer at GEMS, said, “GEMS served over 400 girls and young women last year who had experienced commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking, providing them with access to crucial services as well as a safe, empowered community of survivors. We are committed to welcoming more girls and young women to our powerful community as they’re identified with the help of the NYPD. It will be imperative that the City continues to make a substantial investment in crisis, long-term, and holistic 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 the 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.