GEMS Training- May 2018

GEMS Training- May 2018


Recently, I had the opportunity to attend “Child Victims in the Commercial Sex Industry: Examining Commercial Sexual Exploitation & Domestic Sex Trafficking” – a training led by Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS)  and hosted by the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA) in Charlotte, N.C.


The  three-day, train-the-trainer event included seven modules conducted with a mixture of  seminar-styled lecture and plenty of activities to keep the audience engaged. The most rewarding of the activities was on day three, when attendees were able to work with their colleagues to begin designing a training session for a target audience in the community (i.e. truck drivers). Not only were we given information, but we were allowed the opportunity to practice what we learned in order to receive feedback. At ENC Stop Human Trafficking Now, we are interested in expanding our community outreach to truck driving schools, and we began developing ideas for our curriculum and for a focus group (to help with presentation development).


On the final day, we also viewed the documentary Very Young Girls. (You can view the trailer and learn more information at:


Although several years old, the film is very much relevant today and with what GEMS is seeing in New York, which is where the program is based. Interestingly, it became apparent that there are cultural differences between New York and North Carolina related to what service providers witness. For example, in New York it is not common for CSEC victims to be addicted to drugs, whereas N.C. service providers indicated that opioids and methamphetamines are issues that often have a comorbidity with trafficking in the Tar Heel state.


The documentary is great for starting conversations in your local community and provides insight into the beliefs and way of life for CSEC victims. Recovery often involves relapse with one issue being culture shock. Merriam-Webster defines culture shock as “a sense of confusion and uncertainty sometimes with feelings of anxiety that may affect people exposed to an alien culture or environment without adequate preparation.” After living in “the life” for an extended period, girls (or boys) experience a culture shock during recovery which unfortunately makes recovery more difficult and relapse more likely.


The trainers also explored the State of Change Model ( which involves precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and relapse. When watching the documentary, viewers can find examples of girls in various states of the model.

This training went well beyond defining CSEC and educating attendees on the signs. It provided participants with engagement, knowledge, and how to apply that knowledge to educate surrounding communities. If you have the chance to attend a training hosted by GEMS, I highly recommend that you attend — you will be better equipped to train your local community on CSEC.


GEMS was founded in 1998, by Rachel Lloyd. To read more about this incredible individial click here:


GEMS is based in New York although they lead trainings all over the country. For more information on their trainings check out:


Rachel will be leading a training June 18-19, 2018 at 109 W. 39th St., New York, NY. The description provided by GEMS states, “Join us at GEMS, as we celebrate two decades of providing empowering and engaging services to survivors of domestic trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, in learning about our groundbreaking Victim, Survivor, Leader model.”

“Explore the core principles and values of the only practice- based evidence model in the country for this population and learn how to effectively and intentionally apply it to your own work.”

For more information about the training please visit::


NCCASA provides trainings on a variety of Sexual Assault-related issues all over NC (See for more info on their trainings)

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