We support programming tailored to specific groups of particularly high-needs youth, including those navigating sexual exploitation in the New York City area. GEMS offers short-term and crisis care to girls and young women, ages 12 to 24, who have been victimized by commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) and domestic trafficking to help them exit the commercial sex industry and develop to their full potential through education and job access.
GEMS consistently succeeds at supporting approximately 85% of actively engaged members to become free from commercial sexual exploitation. Their three-pronged approach includes advocacy, prevention (training, technical assistance, outreach), and direct intervention (support services, mentoring, case management, court advocacy, and transitional housing).
GEMS’ survivor-informed and survivor-led Support Services provides essential assistance to CSE victims through a broad range of continuous, trauma-focused services. Holistic Case Management (HCM) provides members with mental health assessments, crisis intervention, and healthcare. Youth development programming provides a series of therapeutic activity groups that staff and trained volunteers facilitate where survivors can forge relationships with each other and with allies while letting go of feelings of guilt and shame, a crucial stage in the recovery process. The Youth Leadership Program helps members develop public-speaking and community-organizing skills through outreach, advocacy, and media work and empowers members to serve the national movement to end CSE through the guidance of peer mentors and community educators. Youth Leadership graduates and Youth Fellows intern in GEMS’ various departments, obtaining job skills and training. Educational Initiative members work to re-engage survivors in the educational process, obtain their high school diploma or GED, and succeed in post-secondary education or vocational training.