Book Review: Girls Like Us

Filed under Books Get Resourced on Oct 05 12 by

Girls Like Us by Rachel LloydGEMS founder Rachel Lloyd’s book, Girls Like Us, is both a memoir and a call to action. Rachel’s story of her own experience in the sex industry and of her exit and healing process is interwoven with stories of other women and girls in similar situations. She shares these stories with the purpose of exposing and discussing the problem of human trafficking in the United States, while offering hope that even women in the most desperate of situations can heal and uncover their own significance and value.

As a teenager, Rachel found herself alone and without any family support. She found her way into the sex industry, but through her toughness and resolve, was able to free herself from her past. She eventually moved to New York City, where she became the founder of GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services), the only organization in the city that works specifically with sexually exploited women. Today, GEMS provides counseling and support for victims and seeks to educate the public on the issue of commercial sexual exploitation.

If you are looking to learn more about the issue of trafficking and the problems and mindsets involved, reading this book is a great way to start educating yourself. Rachel explains the issues with the pimps (the ones selling the girls), the johns (the ones buying), and the problems with the legal system that hinder justice being brought to the girls who are victimized by this system.

In my opinion, the most inspiring aspect of this book is the transformation that takes place in Rachel’s life and in the lives of the women who are affected by GEMS. Toward the end of the book, Rachel explains how she decided on the name of her organization:

“I’ve been reading that verse in Isaiah about laying your foundation with stones…It talks about being afflicted and tossed with tempest, like violence. But then how God will lay your foundation with colorful gems…to everyone else, they just look like regular old rocks and stones, but to a master jeweler, who can see the beauty and potential in a stone and knows that with some polishing, some care and attention, just like these girls need, that the precious stone, the gem, will come out and be shining.”

More than anything, this book caused me to remember that no matter what social situation, family background, or struggles a person has gone through, each of us has inherent value that is placed on us by God. What these girls need is someone who is willing to recognize that value, a person who will hold out their hand and lead them to become everything that they are capable of becoming.

The learn more about GEMS’ and their work, please visit

View all posts by

Lauren D'Alessandro
As the founder of The You Are Project’s print magazine and blog, Lauren is passionate about developing publications that inspire creativity and action. Lauren is the Editor-in-Chief of You Are REAL and the creator and manager of our website. Her dream is to continue using writing and publications as tools for communicating God’s love to the world. Keep up with her latest endeavors at
  • Shannon Wheeler

    I read this earlier in the year, and WOW – powerful and really written so well. I love her voice as a writer. Rachel Lloyd can bring laughter in the midst of really painful, dark, difficult issues, which is hard to imagine. This book totally shattered my preconceived notions about domestic trafficking, and I’ve been chatting with a girlfriend the past month or so about how we may be able to impact our local community for Jesus and reach girls who are victims of trafficking or are in vulnerable places. What a big issue! Reading this book will absolutely break hearts for the hurting women in our country who so often no one sees (or worse, when we do see them, we don’t see them as victims).