Rachel Lloyd is the Executive Director and Founder of Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS), which she founded in 1998 to support American girls and young women survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking. It is now the nation’s largest organization offering direct services to American victims of child sex trafficking.
Lloyd is a nationally recognized expert on the issue of child sex trafficking in America, and played a key role in the successful passage of New York State’s groundbreaking Safe Harbor Act for Sexually Exploited Youth, the first law in the country to end the prosecution of child victims of sex trafficking. Her trailblazing advocacy is the subject of the critically acclaimed Showtime documentary Very Young Girls and the upcoming memoir Girls Like Us (Harper Collins).
Lloyd has a profoundly personal understanding of her work. A survivor of commercial sexual exploitation as a teen, Lloyd knows all too well the hidden, emotional scars such exploitation can leave on children and youth. “There have been experiences I would rather not have had and pain I wish I hadn’t felt: but every experience, every tear, every hardship has equipped me for the work I do now”, Lloyd says. “I get such deep satisfaction from knowing I’m fulfilling my purpose, that my life is counting for something. It puts all the past hurts into perspective.
Rachel received her Bachelors degree in Psychology from Marymount Manhattan College and her Masters in Applied Urban Anthropology from the City College of New York.
Sara Kruzan was 16 years old when she was charged with killing her 31-year-old pimp, a man who had been grooming her since she was 11 years old and trafficking her since she was 13. Now 32, Sara has grown up in prison. Her clemency petition has been submitted to Gov. Schwartzenegger. Rachel Lloyd talks about Sara’s case and the importance of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Sign the petition to support Sara’s release.