Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS) is a non-profit organization that provides services to commercially sexually exploited and domestically trafficked girls and young women, typically underage youth exploited by pimps and traffickers. Based in Harlem, New York City.
GEMS was founded by Rachel Lloyd. She grew up in England, herself a survivor of teenage sexual exploitation, and came to the United States in 1997 as a missionary to work with adult women exiting the commercial sex industry. She founded GEMS in 1998 and continues to serve as the organization's executive director.
GEMS lobbied for passage of the Safe Harbor Act for Sexually Exploited Youth, which provides that girls under the age of 16 who are arrested in New York for prostitution will be treated as victims rather than as criminals. The bill was signed into law in September 2008.
- Feldman, Cassi (April 24, 2007), "Report Finds 2,000 of State’s Children Are Sexually Exploited, Many in New York City", The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/24/nyregion/24child.html
- Catsoulis, Jeannette (July 4, 2008), "Children Without Childhoods", The New York Times, http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/07/04/movies/04girl.html
- Haberman, Clyde (July 8, 2008), "Helping Girls as Victims, Not Culprits", The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/08/nyregion/08nyc.html
- Governor Paterson Signs Law to Protect Sexually Exploited Youth, September 26, 2008, http://www.state.ny.us/governor/press/press_0926082.html