Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself Info

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"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 Lloyd’s 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 City’s Girls Education and Mentoring Service,
to help countless other young girls escape "the life."
Lloyd’s unflinchingly honest memoir is a powerful and
unforgettable story of inhuman abuse, enduring hope, and the promise of

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259 Ratings






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Reviews for Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself:


June 19, 2013

Couldn't put it down A+++++++
I've only recently become much of a reader.
My ADHD usually gets the best of me--five books at a time without finishing one.

This book will keep you on target and glued to your seat--so ADHD people take note :-)

As a male, hopefully it will help you understand that prostitutes are not commodities that you can buy, sell, and then go home.
Just because you pay for the service doesn't make it a legitimate business transaction--for that to happen it would have to be good for both the buyer and the seller. Transactions for the services of a prostitute aren't good for either party. (I'm a male)

I don't think anyone wakes up and suddenly realizes they've accomplished their childhood dreams by becoming a prostitute. This book will not only drive that point out of the park, but more importantly, it will help you to understand that it happens for a variety of reasons--and none of them are good.

The worst part of the whole picture is what happens after the dollars have changed hands--and what happens to make the sale possible.

For the ladies, I'm not one so I'm not sure what to say except maybe have your man read it--he needs to hear the message. Internet pornography is pushing a tsunami whether you realize it or not. That's not what the books about, but that's where it's going without awareness. I think this book provides a great starting place to help make men more aware of how their actions could have a catastrophic impact on another human being and their family. If they look at pornography long enough, they will most likely act out--it's not harmless. If you suspect they watch it or you've caught them there's a pretty good chance it's happening more frequently than you realize. Google some statistics--men are hardwired for visual stimulation,and that's what can get them in trouble. Sorry for the rant, this is a book review--but that's my take on the issue.

Rachel, thanks for helping me to understand. May God bless and keep the girls you've helped save and the ones that haven't been reached yet. If Big Boys don't cry then I'm not a Big Boy--I wept like a baby, so thanks for the commercial interruptions you built into the book that allowed me to stop crying long enough to finish the book. Thanks for standing up in a world that would rather have you sit down.

April 25, 2016

This book changes your perception and life within minutes
This book was tough read, but not due to lack of literary merit. It was difficult to read, because of the accounts of so many victimized girls and women right in the very U.S.A where we live. I stand firmly corrected that Sex Trafficking and CSEC (Commercially, Sexually, Exploited Children) is not a Thailand, India, Russia, etc issue. It is a human issue. Rachel Lloyd captures the anguish and torment of young girls in vivid details. I was moved to rage and commitment to take action. I will never be the same after reading this book. I highly recommend it for readings not just in an academic setting, but in churches, schools, or just personal knowledge and awareness.

June 17, 2016

Horror with Hope - Important Reading
This book opened my eyes to many aspects of the sex industry, starting with the very fact that most "women" being bought and sold are actually underage girls (some not even teenagers) who have been forced into selling sex, first by a need to survive, then usually by violent means by the person taking the money. Rachel Lloyd weaves her own story in and out of the stories of the many girls she has helped, also providing stats and research. She addresses the pain and victimization of these girls by their pimps, johns, police, and even society that does not see them as real people. Somehow, she manages to tell all of this and leave the reader with hope along with immense admiration for her and the girls she serves.

August 24, 2014

A memoir filled with hope, desire, knowledge; brilliantly written; attention getting; a memoir you can’t put down.
Rachel begins this memoir by explaining that she is the Executive Director of a Program named GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services). The program is designed to help girls and young women who have been recruited and trafficked into the commercial sex industry. GEMS is a place where the girls can come and receive counseling from caseworkers; learn different skills such as (poetry, cooking, boxing group); use computers or just simply hang out.

Rachel has a unique story of her own because she used to be a “Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth.” Rachel knows firsthand of the things that happened to a girl while they are in “The Life.” As Rachel shares her story from the age of 13 until her mid-thirties; she explains the life of a trafficked child in rich detail. Rachel explains of key phrases and terminology used by the girls and those used by law enforcement. Rachel explains that politicians, officials, police and many other people have biases towards these girls. Rachel also explains several scenarios that would enlist a girl to be sexually exploited. Rachel gives us several stories of the girls that has entered and left the GEMS program. Rachel describes how pimps recruit young girls and also how they treat the same girls badly. Rachel explains how the media can affect the outcome of a case and how much help a person can get on a case. Rachel has learned that through her helping these girls for 10 years that she has learned to value herself.

February 14, 2013

From my book review blog:
From my book review blog,
Every once in a while, a book comes along that is so powerfully written, it has the ability to cause you to change how you think, how you feel, and maybe even: how you act.
For me, such a book is Girls Like Us: Fighting For a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, by Rachel Lloyd.
I recently completed a 60-hour training course on Crisis Intervention, in order to work with victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and/or elder abuse. One of our sessions focused on human sex trafficking, and this book was recommended by our phenomenal presenter, who works with victims of such trafficking.
The session opened my eyes to the "top layer" of misconceptions around sex trafficking -- especially with regard to children. For example, I think many (most?) of us believe that only women from other countries are forced into prostitution here in the United States. Reading the book opened my eyes to the entire landscape of a devastating underworld that is closer to home than most of us realize.
Over 70% of all those forced into (and I do mean forced) sex work in the United States are Americans. This book, written by such a victim, who now works tirelessly as an advocate for these voiceless victims, puts a bald but factual face on the many "myths" surrounding those in the "sex trade." Just a few examples: that prostitutes choose "the life" (as it is known in the vernacular), that prostitutes are from low socio-economic backgrounds, that prostitutes are runaways, that prostitutes "do it because they like it," that prostitutes stay in the life because of the money they can make, especially when they have no other skills, that prostitutes are "asking for it" when they are beaten/raped/humiliated by their "johns" and/or pimps because after all: they should have known what they were getting into when they "became" prostitutes.
I read this book from cover to cover in two sittings, unable to turn away from it. It is passionately and compassionately written by a woman who has successfully led the fight to pass critically important legislation regarding sex work. One of the latest developments we learned about in our training was that - nowadays -- minors (boys and girls under the age of 18) do NOT have to prove they were "coerced or forced" into the trade. And this is because: by definition, a minor does not have the necessary resources or skills to resist being lured into the sex trade, especially when they are convinced they have no other option.
If you possess an open mind and an open heart, I promise this book will change you, and in very important ways. Even if you finish the book and simply change the vocabulary you use when referring to people in the sex trade, it will be a major step forward in the fight to stop human sex trafficking.
I am not a political person, and I rarely get up on a soapbox, but I will make an exception here. Tomorrow, Valentine's Day, is one that will be marked all over our country by people who are standing up against sex trafficking and violence in that world. It is called the "One Billion Rising," an international call to action that focuses on ending violence and sexual assault against women all over the world. For more information, please go to The name of the event derives from the fact that human sex trafficking is a $1 billion/year business.

This is the first time since I began this blog that I am going to give a "current" book a 5-Worm Rating . . . . and believe me: it's not just because of the interest and passion it has stirred in me, but also because it is remarkably well written. I promise you will not walk away from this story untouched -- and in a hopeful way.

August 15, 2011

Unethical book
The author lacks ethics in this narrative of which she claims is a memoir of her life and journey. She disclosing names of the young girls her organization works with and no disclosure is made as to whether these names are changed or not. I doubt she received permission for the details of their traumatic lives to be profited from.

July 2, 2016

I wish she focused more on her personal experiences and ...
I wish she focused more on her personal experiences and not so much on statistics and studies on human trafficking. Half a chapter was dedicated to the definition of what a "JOHN" is.????. However, If you are the type of reader that enjoys detailed statistics and studies on human trafficking with just a splash or two of personal story......this book is for you!!

August 10, 2012

It's OK
It wasn't exactly what i was expecting but overall it was an "OK" read. The author seems to have more compassion for the african american girls rather than any other nationality, almost like no other nationality matters when it comes to trafficked or sexually abused women.
Her cause is great and the help she's given others is amazing.

June 6, 2018

Very insightful and still an easy read
I read a lot of memoirs many of which are on the subject of sex trafficking. I haven't reviewed many of these books because who am I to rate someone else's story or to critique the writing ability of a survivor. Also, what teaches or inspires me (or doesn't) might not be the same for another person. However, of all the sex trafficking memoirs (both by survivors and advocates) I've read, this one captured me more than any other. Finding I was at the end of each chapter made me feel like a tv binge watcher...I just had to keep going regardless of what else I might be neglecting. Ms. Lloyd does an excellent job of balancing between telling the story of her past, inviting us into the lives of the GEMS ladies and telling her current story. I truly appreciated the insight she gave into the psychological side of sex trafficking victims whether they are in the life, have left the life or have returned to the life. She opened my eyes to behaviors and thought processes I never could've grasped otherwise.

August 20, 2015

It would have been better as just a story of her life
Too much facts and research. A lot of repeated information. It would have been better as just a story of her life. I found myself skipping all the research and just reading her story.

June 16, 2015

A very sad book, sad because we spend our time shooting ...
A very sad book, sad because we spend our time shooting people instead of educating the people that would benefit.

April 18, 2013

Eye-opening: this is probably happening in your city!
This book is about sex trafficking and how prevalent it is in our culture today. Rachel Lloyd was a victim of commercial sexual exploitation by her "boyfriend" (really her pimp) growing up, and the book tells her story and how she eventually came to New York to start a safehouse to help girls "like her" who were trapped in "the life" of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST).

Within each chapter Lloyd weaves her story of how she was trapped being trafficked with the stories of the girls she now works with through GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services - an organization she started to help exploited girls). The result is a heart-wrenching look at the reality of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking in our very own country. Being a survivor, Lloyd gives a poignant picture of what it is like to be trafficked and what is going on in the minds of the hundreds of girls who are being exploited.

It is by no means an "easy" read as she tries to present an accurate account of what happened to her and what happens to the girls she works with - but it is gripping. I would definitely encourage anyone who is unaware of the prevalence of sex trafficking (or sexual exploitation) in our culture to read this book - or others like it (The Slave Across the Street, Renting Lacy, In Our Backyard, etc). Reading about this has changed my view of prostitution, strip clubs, and pornography - and has awakened me to the amount of injustice and oppression that happens right in our own cities.

October 13, 2019

Amazing read
You will not regret reading this book. It reads like a novel, weaving the story of the author's personal life with the lives of the girls with whom she works and the policies and experiences she has within the criminal justice and legal systems. Really fascinating on societal, psychological, economic, racial and sociological levels. Brava to this amazing, resilient woman!

August 10, 2019

Honest and commendable memoir
Should be required reading for everyone of any age! ...This is a hard and heartbreaking topic, a social issue which is so hard to acknowledge and educate one's self on that many choose not to. However, this memoir keeps -somehow- a rather upbeat tone while conveying horrific stories of abuse. GEMS is an undeniably important organization, and Rachel Lloyd a resilient trailblazer in the realm or social change/support for survivors of the massive human trafficking industry in the U.S.

January 15, 2017

This book will make you think differently.
A moving, honest, raw portrait, discussion and explanation of commercial sexual exploitation of children and all its causes, casualties and implications. I learned so much from this book and am grateful to Rachel Lloyd for telling her story and the stories of the GEMS girls. This has forever impacted me and my view of this horrific American institution of which I knew nothing (except for the stereotypes and misinformation propagated in America to absolve our country of responsibility). Everyone should read this book. Especially, police officers and judges.

July 20, 2015

Very disappointed!
I never received this book! NO STARS!!! Very disappointed!

April 4, 2019

Trafficked humans need help today not tomorrow
The topic of human trafficking is not written about often enough. The experience and expertise the author and narrator gave so much validation to the story. Her journey through victimization to personal growth and healing is nothing short of human triumph and sheer grit. The story is a little repetitive and would benefit from structured editing. There is a constant thread of anger throughout the book pointing fingers at political groups or individuals that may inadvertently characterize all Christian, white and non-liberal people as horrible uncaring people. With that said, frustration with congress and legislation is the all to familiar “hurry up and wait” scenario while girls are at risk and dying is unacceptable. I am glad I read the book. It showed me how much more we need to do to help. Not tomorrow but today.

March 25, 2018

I know there is a point here, just not my style.
Interesting, but kind of boring. Not finished yet, but in no hurry.

December 3, 2016

Three Stars
Needed for class.

September 6, 2014

The American girls story was unnecessary and too vulgar
The Ugandan girls story was hard to read but so worth it. The American girls story was unnecessary and too vulgar. I skipped her part. It was about these Ugandan girls that were tortured by the LRA Rebels.

January 13, 2019

Lots of info here about the harms of selling young girls by an author who knows what she’s talking about. Not so much a memoir as an information book.

January 23, 2018

good to learn about girls vulnerable in sex trafficking
Important topic. Amateurish writing style.

October 30, 2017

Incredibly revealing, sobering, heartbreaking and uplifting. A unique look at the lives of girls that is hard to even imagine even exists and should never exist.

June 14, 2017

I found this to be a terribly sad account of this growing problem
An important addition to the literature of sexual exploitation and trafficking of girls, I found this to be a terribly sad account of this growing problem, but one that is necessary if these crimes are to be revealed and stopped.

December 26, 2016

Four Stars

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