Rachel Lloyd: "Girls Like Us"
Sex trafficking of young girls is a global problem. In the U. S. alone, an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 adolescents are at risk of exploitation each year. A mix of circumstances -- substance abuse, family problems, and poverty -- lures vulnerable girls into the world of teenage prostitution. There, they fall prey to the seduction of pimps and frequently face discrimination from police and the courts. A former teen sex worker from Britain tells the story of her escape from what many girls call “the life.” She describes how she founded a program in New York to help children as young as age 11 survive sexual exploitation.
founder, GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services)
GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services) in Harlem, New York
Author Extra: Rachel Lloyd Answers Audience Questions
Q: What about the psychology of men who become pimps, and men who “buy” sex from young girls? - From Penelope via Facebook
A: Most of the men who are street level pimps also have histories of abuse and trauma that parallel the girls' stories. Some of them have grown up in "the life" too, as their fathers were pimps too. In addition, our society glorifies pimp culture so boys grow up thinking that women are disposable, that pimping is glamorous and also knowing that pimps are rarely prosecuted. Its only in the last few years that we’ve seen an increased focus on prosecution of pimps.
Q: Rachel, do you know of any social or legal movements to recognize women and girls as victims and focus more on the Johns? - From Brittany in Cincinnati
A: There are several 'demand' efforts developing around the country. Hunt Alternatives is launching a major national initiative to address this, but I think that all of us in the field are working to correct the perception that this is an issue of choice and working to humanize victims.