This past month has been another exciting one for GEMS! We welcomed GEMS’ new Deputy Executive Director, Dr. Ada Vasquez, a scholar and psychologist who has dedicated her professional career to political and community activism. I look forward to introducing her to our dedicated community of supporters and partners in the coming months and I’m thrilled to have her on board to help us further our missions and goals.
Founder & Executive Director
GEMS Community Outreach
The holiday season is quickly approaching! It’s a great time to bring people together for a purpose. Here are some ideas from fellow supporters to raise awareness among your friends and colleagues.
If you are planning a dinner party, screening event, tabling or flyering activity, we would love to hear from you! Share your ideas and plans with GEMS by e-mailing email@example.com.
Training & Survivor Leadership
Training Medical Professionals
Medical professionals frequently come into contact with victims of CSEC and domestic trafficking but often miss the signs. GEMS recently partnered with ECPAT-USA to create a survivor-informed training video for medical professionals. Five GEMS staffers, who are also survivors, recorded their experiences in medical environments. The moments that these young women were being seen by emergency room personnel, nurses, general practitioners, and gynecologists were all pivotal points-moments when someone could have intervened and offered them options. Dana, a GEMS staff person who participated in the video said, “I hope this video will have a lasting effect on medical professionals. They come into contact with victims everyday in their profession and this video will help them learn best practices. There are so many medical professionals who have missed out on opportunities to help trafficking victims. If I can step in, and help them identify victims, they can help get more girls and young women the services they need.” We are looking forward to seeing the final product in action!
Training Law Enforcement
The GEMS’ Training and Technical Assistance Department was invited to conduct two multi-day trainings and a one-day training in Washington State with Providence Intervention Center, Washington State ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) Task Force and the Seattle Police Department. GEMS trainers were joined by Senior Attorney Justin Fitzsimmons from NDAA (National District Attorneys Association) and Sergeant Ryan Long of the Seattle Police Department who spoke on the importance of using victim-centered approaches to investigating CSEC cases.
Increasing Awareness Worldwide
Rachel Lloyd recently commented on the critical need for survivor voices in order to end CSEC at the United Nations launch of the Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons. Check out the inspiring clip here; Rachel speaks at the 1:34:00 mark!
Highlights & Happenings
GEMS is thrilled to introduce Dr. Ada Ivonne Vazquez as our new Deputy Executive Director! Ada brings more than 20 years of experience as a service provider, senior manager, and administrative and clinical supervisor in the human services field.
A lifelong advocate for gender equality, she has devoted her career to addressing gender-based oppression and violence.
Of her experiences, Ada said, “As a clinician, I have worked with women from all walks of life, supporting them to find ways to foster their emotional and personal growth. As a senior manager, I have built professional and supportive environments where women can excel to their full capacity”. Please join the GEMS team in welcoming Ada. You will be hearing more from her in the future!
Survivors Changing the Conversation
A GEMS staff person and former member participated in St. John’s University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Center for Global Development symposium, “At Risk: A Symposium on Human Trafficking & Modern-Day Slavery” which focused on creating awareness on the issue and the impact it has throughout the world.
The GEMS family is looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving together on November 24th! The staff will be preparing some of our best culinary creations to share with GEMS members.
Recent Member Accomplishments
Since Lesley * has arrived at a residential facility, GEMS has been impressed with her persistence, openness, and commitment to growth. She has chosen to empower herself through self-exploration, and participating in an open and honest dialogue about her life experiences. We are so proud of the way in which she has taken many difficult and important steps toward her healing.
She is also an excellent writer and is currently working on a book-length compilation of her stories and poems. Lesley consistently draws new conclusions and is able to locate herself in relation to important social issues that she now realizes she can one day impact in a positive way. Based upon the growth and motivation for change that she has displayed, we have no doubts in this possibility for her future!
GEMS In The News
Jay-Z Expresses Regrets Over “Big Pimpin’” Lyrics
In a recent interview Jay-Z said that “reading [the lyrics to Big Pimpin'] is really harsh” for him now. GEMS has been very vocal for years about holding the media and popular culture responsible for the glorification of pimp culture and the ways in which it contributes to the s recent announcement took a lot of commercial sexual exploitation of girls and young women. Jay-Z’s courage and is a good solid step in the right direction. Wouldn’t it be terrific if other musicians followed his lead? Read Rachel Lloyd’s insightful article and call to action here.
Working to Convict More Traffickers
GEMS has been providing clinical support and encouragement to a member as she testifies against a Bronx utility worker who was charged with trafficking women on craigslist. Convicting traffickers for their crimes is difficult, since victims are often too afraid to testify. In addition, the experience of testifying in court could potentially re-traumatize a young person who has only recently escaped a violent and exploitive situation. We commend our member and other victims who have had the bravery to provide the needed testimony to put their abusers behind bars. And we are encouraged to see our local District Attorneys increasingly prosecuting traffickers and seeking maximum penalties, part of a growing trend nationwide. For full details on the case, click here.
Tags: At Risk: A Symposium on Human Trafficking & Modern-Day Slavery, commercial sexual exploitation of children, Community Outreach, CSEC, Deputy Executive Director, Domestic Trafficking, GEMS, GEMS Newsletter, Jay-Z, Member Accomplishments, News, Newsletter, Rachel Lloyd, Thanksgiving, Training
Tuesday, November 16th, 2010, 12:44 pm
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