Sunday, 20 November 2011

Joy Keys chats with Author Rachel Lloyd

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At thirteen, Rachel Lloyd found herself caught up in a world of pain and abuse, struggling to survive as a child with no responsible adults to support her. Vulnerable yet tough, she eventually ended up a victim of commercial sexual exploitation. It took time and incredible resilience, but with the help of a local church community, she broke free of her pimp and her past.

Three years later, Lloyd arrived in the United States to work with adult women in the sex industry and soon founded her own nonprofit—GEMS, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services—to meet the needs of other girls with her history. She also earned her GED and won full scholarships to college and a graduate program. Today Lloyd is executive director of GEMS in New York City and has turned it into one of the nation's most groundbreaking nonprofit organizations.

Rachel Lloyd is the Executive Director and Founder of GEMS and the author of Girls Like Us (HarperCollins). She earned her BA in psychology from Marymount Manhattan College, and an MA in applied urban anthropology from the City College of New York. She has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Reebok Human Rights Award. Lloyd is an Ashoka Fellow and a Prime Mover Fellow, and was a leading advocate for the Safe Harbor for Exploited Youth Act, which makes New York the first state to protect, not prosecute, sexually exploited children.

by Joy Keys

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