Girls Like Us
Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale: A Memoir
By Rachel Lloyd
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061582066, 288pp.)
Publication Date: February 2012
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During her teens, Rachel Lloyd ended up a victim of commercial sexual exploitation. With time, through incredible resilience, and with the help of a local church community, she finally broke free of her pimp and her past and devoted herself to helping other young girls escape "the life."
In Girls Like Us, Lloyd reveals the dark world of commercial sex trafficking in cinematic detail and tells the story of her groundbreaking nonprofit organization: GEMS, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services. With great humanity, she shares the stories of the girls whose lives GEMS has helpedsmall victories that have healed her wounds and made her whole. Revelatory, authentic, and brave, Girls Like Us is an unforgettable memoir.
Rachel Lloyd is the founder and executive director of GEMS, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services. The recipient of numerous fellowships and honors, including the prestigious Reebok Human Rights Award, Lloyd was a leading advocate for the Safe Harbor for Exploited Youth Act, which made New York the first state to protect, not prosecute, sexually exploited children. She lives in New York City.
“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