Girls Like Us
Girls Like Us
Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself
By Rachel Lloyd
Harper, Hardcover, 9780061582059, 288pp.
Publication Date: April 1, 2011
A deeply moving story by a survivor of the commercial sex industry who has devoted her career to activism and helping other young girls escape "the life"
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 ?nally, 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 nonprofitGEMS, Girls Educational and Mentoring Servicesto 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.
In Girls Like Us, Lloyd reveals the dark, secretive world of her past in stunning cinematic detail. And, with great humanity, she lovingly shares the stories of the girls whose lives she has helpedsmall victories that have healed her wounds and made her whole. Revelatory, authentic, and brave, Girls Like Us is an unforgettable memoir.
“Riveting. . . . [Lloyd’s] passionate, persuasive arguments for recognition and protection give a voice to the thousands of girls all around us who work and suffer in near invisibility.”
-Corrie Pikul, Elle
“Fascinating and moving.”
“Heartbreaking. . . . But the book is also at times funny, bawdy, and optimistic, as is Lloyd herself.”
-Jennie Yabroff, Daily Beast
“Rachel Lloyd’s astonishing stories of life on the street have an accumulative power that left me reeling. What makes Girls Like Us such an extraordinary achievement is that her storytelling is unflinchingly honest, and yet filled with a sense of promise, filled with a profound sense of hope.”
-Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here and The Other Side of the River
“This book will burn a hole in your heart. The beauty of Rachel Lloyd’s searing memoir is how she exorcises the pain of her own troubled girlhood by connecting with hundreds of young women on a brutal path.”
-Mira Nair, director of Salaam Bombay!, Mississippi Masala, and The Namesake
“With empathy and intellect, Rachel Lloyd brings to light the heart-breaking stories of these lost, forgotten, and abused girls. Her own life story is a source of inspiration and hope. She is an important new voice of conscience to which America needs to pay attention.”
-Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO, Harlem Children's Zone
“Rachel Lloyd’s memoir should be mandatory reading for every cop, prosecutor, judge, and ‘john’, but also every mainstream American who thinks racism, classism, and misogyny don’t exist.”
-Sarah Jones, Tony Award-winning playwright/performer and UNICEF GoodwillAmbassadorSarah Jones, Tony Award-winning playwright/performer and UNICEF GoodwillAmbassadorSarah Jones, Tony Award-winning playwright/performer and UNICEF GoodwillAmbassado
“Girls Like Us is a life-changing book, in every sense of the word. Rachel Lloyd changed her life in order to help change the lives of thousands of others—read her incredibly powerful story, and your life will be changed too.”
-Janice Erlbaum, author of Girlbomb: A Halfway Homeless Memoir and Have You Found Her: A Memoir
“Girls Like Us is a powerful and eloquent recounting of the lives of children and young women caught up in the ravages of sexual exploitation….[It] offers valuable insights into understanding the complex emotional and economic factors that contribute to the exploitation of children and youth.”
-Richard J. Estes, Professor of Social Work, University of Pennsylvania