Synopses & Reviews
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 nonprofit—GEMS, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services—to 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 helped—small victories that have healed her wounds and made her whole. Revelatory, authentic, and brave, Girls Like Us is an unforgettable memoir.
“Rachel Lloyds memoir should be mandatory reading for every cop, prosecutor, judge, and ‘john, but also every mainstream American who thinks racism, classism, and misogyny dont 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
“Fascinating and moving.” Marie Claire
“Heartbreaking. . . . But the book is also at times funny, bawdy, and optimistic, as is Lloyd herself.” Jennie Yabroff, Daily Beast
“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
“Rachel Lloyds 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 Lloyds 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
“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 othersread 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
“Riveting. . . . [Lloyds] 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
"Powerfully raw, deeply moving, and utterly authentic. Rachel Lloyd has turned a personal atrocity into triumph and is nothing less than a true hero. . . . Never again will you look at young girls on the street as one of 'those' women—you will only see little girls that are girls just like us." —Demi Moore, actress and activist
With the power and verity of First They Killed My Father and A Long Way Gone, Rachel Lloyds riveting survivor story is the true tale of her hard-won escape from the commercial sex industry and her bold founding of GEMS, New York Citys Girls Education and Mentoring Service, to help countless other young girls escape "the life." Lloyds unflinchingly honest memoir is a powerful and unforgettable story of inhuman abuse, enduring hope, and the promise of redemption.
About the Author
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.