Many of us like to think that trafficking, sex tourism, and sexual exploitation of very young girls is something that happens “over there” in developing countries, but we know that it is happening here, all around us, on the streets, and in our neighborhoods.
An estimated 300,000 children and adolescents are the victims of domestic trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in the United States every year. – UNICEF
Last week at the DPI briefing for NGOs on “Violence against Women: 16 Days to Make a Difference,” we learned about the Girls Education and Mentoring Service (GEMS). GEMS is the only non-profit organization in New York State serving domestically trafficked and commercially exploited girls. Since it’s founding in 1998, around 250 girls have passed through it’s doors. Most have been helped to break free and build new lives.
The television premiere of the documentary “Very Young Girls,” which features young women who find GEMS at a crucial point on their journey from prostitution to empowerment will air on Showtime on December 11, 2008 at 8:30 p.m.
For more information about GEMS and to find out what you can do, visit http://www.gems-girls.org/