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GEMS’ June Newsletter

 

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Dear Friend,Thanks to everyone who came out for our bowling event last night to kick off End CSEC Week! We hope you’ll join us at events planned throughout the week, and in Central Park this Saturday, June 16, for our seventh annual End CSEC Day to help raise awareness about CSEC and domestic trafficking! This year’s theme is “More Than a Survivor,” and the posters, poems, and materials that our members are creating are incredibly inspiring. Also, be sure to come out for a conversation with Ted Bunch from A Call to Men and me this Thursday! The conversation will be on men’s role in the fight to end CSEC. Afterward, pick up a signed copy of Girls Like Us to give to a man in your life this Father’s Day!

We are also busy at work on a number of exciting initiatives. We are thrilled to have received a generous grant from the New York State Health Foundation to fund a two-year project to provide training and technical assistance to New York City emergency department personnel. The project will identify CSEC victims and connect them with services during critical points of contact with medical professionals. Stay tuned for more information about this important initiative!

We are also so excited to announce that GEMS was awarded the Office for Victims of Crime’s National Crime Victim Service Award! Thank you to the OVC for this award, which acknowledges our members and other survivors of CSEC as victims in need of services. It’s an incredibly important step for victims of commercial sexualRachel Lloyd Picture exploitation and trafficking to be included officially as victims of crime.

Thank you, as always, for your support! We could not do this work without you.

Sincerely,

Rachel Lloyd
Founder & Executive Director

Community Outreach

Community Partnership

Duane MorrisDuane Morris law firm is helping GEMS members appeal for Vacating Convictions, a 2010 law passed that allows survivors of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) to expunge prior arrests for prostitution (or other prostitution-related crimes) from their criminal records. These convictions have prevented access to immigration relief, public housing, student financial aid, and jobs that require background checks. We are incredibly grateful for this partnership, which will help our members move forward with their lives without criminal records to bar their paths!

Making Progress in Alternatives to Incarceration

GEMS’ Alternative to Incarceration staff, who provide services and support for CSE girls and young women ages 16-24 who are involved in the NYC criminal court system on matters related to prostitution and correlating arrests, have witnessed an increasing number of Adjournments in Contemplation of Dismissals (ACDs). CSE youth are being recognized as victims in need of services, and who are also deserving of ultimate dismissal of charges for crimes that resulted from their victimization.This trend indicates real progress in the courts! An increasing number of GEMS members are also completing their mandates, which is a strong indicator of the success of GEMS services to engage members in programming.

Highlights & Happenings

Diamond of the Month

We’re so excited to announce that Drew is our May Diamond of the Month! Drew is a joy to see in the office–her warm personality and brightness is a constant–and she has a growing belief in herself and a drive to keep pushing forward, no matter the obstacles she faces. A graduate of our Alternative to Incarceration program, Drew has successfully exited the commercial sex industry. She has begun to engage in weekly therapy sessions with a crime-victims therapist, and is committed to her healing and recovery. One of our first members to participate in the Educational Initiative program, she has been very committed to her weekly tutoring sessions to increase her literacy levels and has grown leaps and bounds! She also recently decided to testify against her former trafficker. We are so proud of Drew! She has made very intentional and focused decisions to create positive changes in her life. She is an inspiration to GEMS’ members and staff alike!

AuburnJust in Time for Father’s Day!Cover of GIRLS LIKE US

If you are in NYC this Thursday, you have the opportunity to get the perfect gift for a man in your life in honor of Father’s Day! At 7pm at the Auburn Theological Seminary‘s Refectory Room at 3041 Broadway, Rachel Lloyd will be participating in a public conversation with Ted Bunch, Co-Founder of A Call to Men, and following the talk she will be signing copies of Girls Like Us–a great Father’s Day gift! Topics for this dynamic discussion will include men’s support in the fight to end CSEC, Backpage.com and the current attitude toward CSEC in the media, and more! See you there!

EndCSECDayRealEnd CSEC Day!

End CSEC 2011Join us at Merchants’ Gate in Central Park this Saturday, June 16, from 12-4pm for GEMS’ seventh annual End CSEC Day! The event will be a day of awareness-raising and fun for the fight to end CSEC! This year’s theme is “More Than a Survivor,” and our members have been working hard to create poetry, posters, masks, and more to mark the event! Join us on this important day!

Rachel Gives a Talk at TEDxUChicago!

tedXRachel recently gave an incredibly powerful talk at the TEDxUChicago conference, speaking about the power of sharing stories, changing public perception of survivors of commercial sexual exploitation, youth empowerment, and the importance of survivor leadership within the anti-trafficking movement. Check it out here!

OVCGEMS Wins the National Crime Victims Service Award!OVC Award

We are thrilled to announce that on April 20, GEMS was awarded the Office for Victims of Crime’s National Crime Victim Service Award, which recognizes programs and individuals whose work exemplifies the long-term commitment that characterizes many of our nation’s victim service providers. It was an incredible honor to receive the award from Attorney General Eric Holder, who said, “This year’s 12 awardees have touched, improved and even saved lives. Perhaps most impressively, many of today’s award recipients have achieved these results by transforming their own experiences into a positive force for sweeping change.” The Office for Victims of Crime recognized GEMS’ work as “groundbreaking, far reaching, and unparalleled.”

GEMS Advocates!

GEMS been advocating in Albany and NYC recently, and hearing our members’ testimonies and witnessing their courage in speaking out has been incredibly inspiring. As a direct result of this advocacy work, the NY’s seminal Safe Harbor for Exploited Children law has been partially funded. GEMS members and staff continue to advocate for restored funding for runaway and homeless youth.

New Groups for MembersYouth Leadership 2012

GEMS’ latest calendar of daily positive youth development activities includes a number of new and exciting groups, including a Know Your Rights group that is being run by NYU law students and is designed specifically for our members who are participating in the Alternative to Incarceration program. Youth Leadership is currently open to all GEMS’ members; participating members will be eligible for the summer intensive session! We also have a new drama group, called There She Is, a new yoga group, and our Poets & Writers creative writing group is also starting up again!

Shout Out to Staff, and GEMS Is Hiring!

GEMS logo

We are SO EXCITED to welcome Fathima P. Torres to the GEMS’ team as our new COO! Dedicated to ending gender-based violence, Fathima has found a home at GEMS, and we are so happy to have her!

 

Interested in working at GEMS? Our team is made up of passionate and dedicated individuals, and we are hiring! Check out our current job listings here!

GEMS in the News

News

“TEDxUChicago–Rachel Lloyd–Human Trafficking”

–YouTube.com

Attorney General Eric Holder Honors New York Organization for Service to Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Domestic Trafficking

–TheStreet.com

–MarketWatch.com

“Legalizing Prostitution Leads to More Trafficking”

 –Rachel Lloyd, New York Times

“Exposing Sex Trafficking in America”

 –Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC

“Backpage.com Tests Ethics of Sex for Sale”

–www.bbc.co.uk

“Social Media Week Keynote: Rachel Lloyd”

–Livestream

“Review: Girls Like Us by Rachel Lloyd”

–Jennylovestoread

“The Rumpus Interview with Rachel Lloyd”

–The Rumpus

“America’s Most Wanted: Sex Trafficking Resources”

–America’s Most Wanted

“Girls Like Us–Rachel Lloyd’s Memoir Illuminates the Sexual Exploitation of Children”

–Huffington Post and Fem 2.0

 

Thursday, June 14th, 2012, 12:53 pm
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