OUR Mission

 
 

About

 
 

For the past 20 years, Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS) has served as the nation’s leading organization for empowering commercially sexually exploited and domestically trafficked girls and young women. Through cultural change, advocacy, training, and survivor leadership, GEMS is committed to shifting public perception and policy.  

As New York State’s first—and only—organization designed to provide trauma-informed, strengths-based services, GEMS has served thousands of young women and girls, ages 12–24. Founded in 1998, GEMS’ ground-breaking, award-winning work supports survivors in: 

  • Gaining independence

  • Safety

  • Education

  • Employment

  • Economic sustainability for themselves and their children

GEMS’ unique Victim, Survivor, Leader™ program model is the gold standard for organizations serving trafficking victims and survivors across the country. They co-wrote—and helped pass—the NYS Safe Harbor for Exploited Youth Act: the first bill in the nation to stop the criminalization of commercially sexually exploited children.

 

GEMS’ unique Victim, Survivor, Leader ™ program model is the gold standard for organizations serving trafficking victims and survivors across the country and GEMS trains thousands of professionals every year on its best practices.

 

 
 
 

Mission

 

Girls Educational and Mentoring Services’ (GEMS) mission is to empower girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking, to exit the life and develop to their full potential. By changing individual lives, transforming public perception, and revolutionizing the systems and policies that impact commercially sexually exploited youth, GEMS is committed to ending commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking. 

 

 
 

Vision

 

GEMS’ vision is to create a world where girls are not for sale. A world where girls are empowered, free from violence, and able to live healthy, fulfilling, economically sustainable lives. 

 
 
 

 
 
 
 

Philosophy

 

We believe that commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking are systemic problems of a world where girls are not valued and where poverty, racism, and sexism exist. These circumstances shouldn’t stand in the way of our girls’ future success because they deserve the opportunities, support, and resources to accomplish their every goal. We also believe that listening to—and sharing—survivor’s stories, will help pave the way for a better future.