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Even if You Only Have One Minute, One Hour, or One Day . . .

 

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Dear Friends, Greetings from GEMS! As we head into the fall season, I’m happy to report that we’ve made a critical partnership with Free the Slaves, mtvU, and Polaris Project for the “Against Our Will” campaign. I worked closely with them on a PSA on johns that captures the reality of the life in just 60 seconds. I hope you will check out this video–and the several other videos and resources–and circulate this campaign info widely. The campaign shows that even if you only have one minute, one hour, or one day, you can make a real difference in the fight against commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking!On the home front, I am thrilled to tell you that our Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator, Tiffany Rivera, has been chosen to represent all of North America on ECPAT’s International Child and Youth Advocacy Committee (EICYAC) at an international youth conference in Paris. We are so proud of her!!

I’m also so happy to say that two anonymous donors have pledged to give GEMS $25,000 if our supporters donate $25,000 by October 25. Will you help us get this much-needed funding?

Finally, we had some really great sessions recently in our weekly group for survivors. I’m so proud of our young women’s honesty about their feelings and the way they support one another. Even though we don’t come up with “The Answer” in the Wednesday night group, nor are we able to take away all the hurt and pain, the process of sharing in a group with others who understand is so healing and empowering. I am so fortunate to be part of this process and to see girls each week leave just a little lighter and less burdened than when they came in.Rachel Lloyd Picture

Thank you, as always, for your support! We couldn’t do this work without you.

Sincerely,

Rachel Lloyd
Founder & Executive Director

Community Outreach

Raising Awareness with GEMS Youth Outreach Team
department of probationThe last couple of months offered many opportunities for GEMS’ Youth Outreach Team to build awareness with some of our most vulnerable communities: young girls in the juvenile justice and foster care systems. Thirty girls between 12 and 16 years old participated in a lively Q&A session with GEMS’ Youth Outreach Team at VYGthe Department of Probation after a screening of Very Young Girls. At the Anti-Defamation League, the Outreach Team spoke with high school students who learned about who is involved in CSEC, risk factors, common recruiting factors, and how to get involved in the movement to end CSEC. GEMS also moderated a similar discussion at the Health Education Department with girls and young women, age 11-22, from East Harlem, some of whom are young mothers.

anti-defamation league“These trainings are the most rewarding because we can actually see the shift in understanding of the girls” says Kalima DeSuze, Youth Outreach Coordinator.Illinois

New Laws in Illinois and Minnesota!
Illinois passed a vacating convictions law! Victims of sex trafficking will have an opportunity to clear their records of prior convictions, thereby improving their ability to access housing, employment, education, immigration status, and parental rights! Minnesota’s new law, similar to NY’s Safe Harbor for Exploited MinnesotaChildren, protects child victims of sex trafficking, ensuring that victims younger than 16 will be seen as such, rather than as delinquents, and will connect them with services. This is a huge step in the right direction for the courts’ perception and treatment of CSEC victims!

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Highlights and Happenings

Diamond of the Month
We are proud to announce that this month’s Diamond is Celina! Celina has been extremely helpful in and around the office and has even started her own crochet group! She has been helpful to members in various ways, supporting them in educational pursuits and offering an ear to listen, and she always has something positive and motivating to say to others. Celina finds time to improve upon herself as well. She has been attending Writing Workshops with Tamara and was very believable in GEMS’ Acting Workshop. She scored 90s in the reading portion of the GED program that she recently began, and she has also developed a relationship with a Math tutor at GEMS to help support her pursuit of earning her GED. We’re so proud of your progress, Celina!

Member Spotlight
Shani was trafficked in the commercial sex industry for three years. She was courageous when she testified against her former trafficker, explaining the fear and control that traffickers use to exploit girls and young women. Shani’s testimony ensured that her former trafficker went to jail and couldn’t exploit other girls and young women. Still involved with GEMS, Shani was recently accepted at Marymount Manhattan College, where she will be majoring in Sociology. She is considering minoring in either French or Gender Studies. We’re so incredibly proud of her! Rachel wrote about Shani’s accomplishment and her own connection to this special moment at GEMS. Please read and share this piece!

Youth Leadership
SYL LogoSix GEMS members who participated in the intensive, summer version of the Youth Leadership program graduated this September! They met twice a week and participated in a concurrent internship to develop public-speaking and community-organizing skills through outreach, events, advocacy, and media work to serve the national movement to end CSEC as peer mentors and community educators. We’re so proud of all the work they’ve done! Youth Leadership Graduation

Here are some incredible words from one of our graduates’ speeches: “In Youth Leadership, I was able to give back to GEMS what GEMS gave to me: inspiration. I’m not something; I’m someone. I’m not a victim; I’m a leader!”

In a few weeks, there will be an open house for the fall Youth Leadership program, which will include critical consciousness brown-bag lunch meetings; tentative topics include intimate partner violence, body norms, and LGBTQIA. The fall session starts in October.

Career Week
For GEMS’ career week, professionals from a broad range of organizations presented on women in film, women in finance and communication, women in health care, and women in education! It was an inspiring time, and GEMS members were excited to connect with professionals who are working in the field and want to build mentoring partnerships!

CakeThanks also to Sonia Turner from All Souls Church for the delicious lasagna, pasta, salad, and amazing chocolate cheesecake; to Rev. Corliss Henley for donating the wonderful desserts and drinks; to Risa Magid for the amazing pink cake; to Katie Letts for the mac and cheese (with truffle oil!); and to Fairway for the tuna and pasta salads and the delicious cookies!Challenge  thermometer

GEMS’ 30-Day Matching Gift Challenge!
If GEMS raises $25,000 by October 25, two anonymous individuals will donate $25,000 more! Thank you SO MUCH to all our generous supporters who are donating! Nearly 90% of every contribution made to GEMS directly supports our members, whether through meeting immediate, basic needs or helping members achieve their long-term goals. Please help us meet this goal!

Collaborative Fundraising
Art of Beauty masksThanks to the generous contributions of our supporters, GEMS members created some BEAUTIFUL artwork, including the masks to the left, to benefit the children of the Diakonos Orphanage in Haiti! This artwork will be auctioned at a gala at the Emmanuel Fremin Gallery in Chelsea, NY, to benefit the children of the Diakonos Orphanage in Haiti; the children of Diakonos will also be creating art to benefit GEMS members!

For more information on this inspiring partnership, click here. We’ll keep you posted on the date and time of the auction!apartment pic

New Transitional and Supportive Housing!
This summer, GEMS supporters on Facebook and Twitter helped to set up new safe housing apartments for victims of commercial sexual exploitation as well as their children. The rooms look absolutely gorgeous! Thank you to everyone for your generous support and contributions. You’ve made such warm and beautiful spaces for our girls!

Shout Out to Staff
GEMS logoTiffany Rivera, former GEMS Youth Outreach Worker, is doing a phenomenal job as the new Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator. Congrats on being selected to represent North America at ECPAT’s international conference in Paris, Tiffany!! You’ll do amazing, and we’re so proud of you!

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GEMS in the News

News

“MTV’s College Network Amplifies Student Efforts to End Modern-Day Slavery in the ‘mtvU Against Our Will Campaign'”

- MarketWatch.com
– Sacramento Bee
– U.S. Politics Today
– Virtual Press Office
– SunHerald.com
– istockAnalyst.com
– SYS-CON Media
– PR Newswire
– DigitalJournal.com

“MTV Launches Multiplatform Campaign Against ‘Modern-Day Slavery'”

-HollywoodReporter.com

“‘Fashion’ Victims: E!’s ‘Streetwalker’ Goes Too Far”

- NYPost.com

“Should Fashion Police End Its ‘Starlet or Streetwalker’ Segment? One Social Action Group Thinks So”

- Glamour.com

“Joan Rivers’ Fashion Police Under Fire”

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011, 1:46 pm
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