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

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  2,406 Ratings  ·  336 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 comm

Hardcover, 277 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Harper (first published April 1st 2011)
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Jan 24, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chris by: N. kristoff
Can someone please explain the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to me? Seriously. Look, I voted for Obama, and I still don’t understand why he won the Peace Prize. And the EU, honestly Canada, the US, and Mexico have avoided going to war for years and do we get a prize? Nope. Why don’t people like Rachel Lloyd win the blasted thing?
Lloyd’s book chronicles not only her experience as a se trafficking victim, but more importantly, the work she does with GEMS helping girls overcome their abuse and find
Crystal Starr Light
Nov 11, 2013 Crystal Starr Light rated it really liked it
Recommended to Crystal Starr Light by: Chris
Shelves: non-fiction, feminism
Bullet Review:

Do not read this book if you are faint of heart. This book will make you want to cry, to tear your hair out in rage, to raise a fist to the hundreds of politicians sitting in cozy offices, ignoring the plea of these commercially sexually exploited girls. Because when you are a 15 year-old African-American runaway from the bad end of town, you aren't a "prostitute". If that girl were a pretty white girl in a middle- or upper-class home in a white neighborhood, you can sure as bet yo
Jun 18, 2011 Danna rated it it was amazing
This is a book that everyone should read. Rachel Lloyd tells her story of sexual exploitation as a young girl, how she finally escaped the grips of her pimp, and made the decision to start working with other young girls and women. Lloyd grew up in England in a rough and tumultuous home. As a teen, she ran away to Germany, where penniless and frightened, she started working as a stripper. Her stories are heartbreaking and real. She is graphic in her depictions of physical abuse; the story is freq ...more
Oct 30, 2011 CD rated it it was amazing
I was a little nervous about adding this book to the collection as it is a book about the sex trafficking trade. However, it was a starred review and recommended for teens. So, when it arrived, I put it on my list of books to read.

I was pleasantly surprised. It was fabulous. Ms. Lloyd is to be commended, not only for writing a wonderful book on a topic that many Americans don't think about (the American sex slave, child prostitute), but for opening up her own life for as a lens to use for looki
Aug 25, 2011 Kasia rated it it was ok
Everyone should be aware of this issue, but not necessarily all should read this particular book. As a novice writer, Rachel attempts to convince her readers that this issue is heinous and worthy of attention, but her writing skills do not match up with her ability to educate her readers. After 100 pages or so, I was tired of hearing her explain again and again how these girls are worthy of sympathy, abused and exploited, and in need of media attention. Of course I strongly agree that this issue ...more
Mar 23, 2012 Brooke rated it it was amazing
Shelves: abuse
I had the privilege of meeting Rachel Lloyd at a talk tonight at Circle of Hope where I bought her book, which she inscribed, "To the girls at Penn Treaty, with encouragement, love, & respect."
Kaari Anzel
Jul 11, 2013 Kaari Anzel rated it it was amazing
I have to say, this is really the book that changed my life. Before I read it, I had only the vaguest suspicions that the boyfriend I'd had when I was 18, the one I thought loved me like no one else did, the one I gave all my stripper and "extras" money to, was really a pimp. I thought I'd just been weak and stupid, but this book explained the psychology of "the life" in a clear way that gave me a better understanding of myself- such a gift! What's more, it gave me increased empathy for the girl ...more
Elizabeth Wig
May 24, 2014 Elizabeth Wig rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is sometimes surprising, sad, and painful to read. It is important to fight against the human trafficking that traps these girls in lives spent in commercial sexual exploitation. Lloyd emphasizes, rightfully, that it is not the victim's fault they are being exploited and discusses the troubles and victories she - and others - have faced in adapting back to normal lives. It discusses many nuances of the problem, making for an informative and eye-opening read.

"At thirteen, Rachel Lloyd
Jax Garren
Apr 29, 2015 Jax Garren rated it it was amazing
I want to pass this book around to everybody I know and tell them, "READ THIS. It's important." I got Girls Like Us after hearing Rachel Lloyd speak. She is as eloquent, passionate, and moving in person as she is in the pages here. Her critiques on feminism, race, poverty, and the way we categorize and dismiss people is as alarming as it is true. And yet, as sad as her story and the stories of the girls she works with can be at times, the message of hope and resilience shines through beautifully ...more
Mary Beth
May 30, 2013 Mary Beth rated it really liked it
This should be a basic primer for anyone wanting to learn more about sex trafficking. The author weaves her own story of being caught up in the sex trade within the stories of others and the stories of the work she does now to help others out of trafficking. It's heartbreaking, eye-opening, terrible, but also inspiring and amazing. You will close the book with hope, but you should also close the book determined to make a difference.
The Sunday Book Review
Apr 01, 2011 The Sunday Book Review rated it it was amazing
This book gave me such a reaction, it took me forever to finish it. This is an emotional, raw, realistic in your face read. I have learned more about commercially exploited girls than I wanted to, however should know. This isn't just a third world country situation. This is a HUGE activity here in the US and it can happen to any girl.

The following are just a few things that made me scream:

Those of us that watch Law & Order:SVU have grown to love Ice-T. At least I like his character. We know
melanie (lit*chick)
Aug 18, 2011 melanie (lit*chick) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
Giving away a copy here:

It takes a great deal of effort for me to step out of my reading comfort zone and pick up something that I know to be challenging either in content or perspective. Girls LIke Us accomplished both of those goals. This book is many things - memoir, essay, social commentary - all bound in a remarkable, sometimes heartbreaking, yet redemptive package.

Author Rachel Lloyd takes real stories, those we hide from, yet know to be true, and s
Mar 27, 2012 Patty rated it really liked it
This was a powerful book. It weaves together Ms. Lloyd's own story of growing up in an abusive household and her entry into prostitution and her subsequent rise out of "the life" to create GEMS - Girls Educational and Mentoring Services - with the stories of the girls she met along the way. And I do mean girls. Some of these trafficked girls were as young as eleven. It is very hard to read stories of girls that young being abused at the hands of both their pimps and the justice system.

I found I
Jan 18, 2012 Claire rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I'd never given human trafficking much thought. The victims I pictured were European immigrants or middle-class runaways forced into prostitution. Most of my knowledge came from TV shows or movies like Taken.

Then I read Girls Like Us. Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself The author, Rachel Lloyd, Rachel Lloyd founded the non-profit GEMS (Girls Educational & Mentoring Services) to help girls who have been victimized
Diane Yannick
Nov 23, 2015 Diane Yannick rated it really liked it
"Sing me a pretty love song as I begin to cry.
Tell me you love me as you wipe the blood from my eye.
Tell me why the only one who can wipe away my tears
Is the only one who's the source of all my fears."

Young girls who aren't loved or protected by their parents can often be successfully groomed by pimps. These girls yearn to be taken care of and loved. They are often prosecuted as prostitutes but according to the author they are "commercial sexually exploited teens". Rachel Lloyd knows of what she
Melissa Bennett
Apr 13, 2011 Melissa Bennett rated it liked it
I have read numerous books on human trafficking/prostitution with kids but it was always about other countries. Not here in the US. Although I knew that it happened here, I did not know how bad it actually was. The book gave many insights on very young girls that have been or are out there being used for sex. The things these girls go through and the backgrounds in which they come from. There were statistics, facts, etc that helped put perspective on everything.
The author even flashes back in p
Saleena Davidson
Feb 05, 2014 Saleena Davidson rated it really liked it
Lloyd alternates between speaking of her advocacy efforts on behalf of commercially exploited children in the sex industry and retelling her own experiences in the trade. It is a powerful book with a lot of really good information. Lloyd wants to make sure that the reader REALLY understands how these girls are brought into the industry and how difficult it can be for them to really leave. She also points out the discrepancies in the media and how these girls (and really all girls who don't fit ...more
Mar 18, 2012 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paradigm-shifted
So many important points are made in this book.

1) Our society has decided that children under 18 can't consent to sex. They cannot therefore be criminals for participating in the sex industry, even if they "consent."(Rachel Lloyd calls them "commercially sexually exploited children.") To my knowledge, only three states prohibit such children from being prosecuted from prostitution (NY, CT and IL). These states assume that "prostitutes" under age 18 are not consenting and therefore cannot be cha
Jun 13, 2011 Erica added it
Rachel Lloyd is the director and founder of a nonprofit called GEMS that helps young women who were sexually trafficked move on with their lives. She is also a former victim of trafficking herself. Girls Like Us is her memoir, and it focuses on both parts of her life--her work today with GEMS and the girls who go there for services, and her past in Europe.

To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from this book. I didn't think it would be bad, but I thought it would be a mildly interesting memoir ab
Girl Like Us will provoke you to asses your ethics and/or how you live them. Rachel Lloyd indicts us all, because on some level - whether it is our assumptions concerning prostitutes and blame, our glorification of the "pimp" lifestyle through entertainment, our inability and unwillingness to equate sex trafficking in foreign locales with child prostitution in America, or our generally cavalier attitude toward the sex industry - we are all guilty.

Lloyd infuriates and motivates a need to destroy
Joel Feldhake
Feb 10, 2014 Joel Feldhake rated it really liked it
A good look into the struggles of commercially sexually exploited girls/women. While it hits all of the necessary general points in regards to informing, it does so at the expense of fully telling Rachel Lloyd's own personally story, which is why the book is a 4/5 for me. I get why the book was written this way, but I would've liked to understand more of Lloyd's personal struggle and recovery. While she mentions God and the church in the book, I feel like she tried to limit the amount of sharing ...more
Jan 26, 2014 Erin rated it it was amazing
5 stars for the story, not so much for the writing. This book opened my eyes. It challenged my perceptions on prostitution: who are the girls and women, how did they get there and why, what needs to be done to help. This book is written by a woman who escaped out of "the life" and now tries to help others (especially girls) to find acceptance, love, and hope for the future. I didn't realize how judgmental I was until I was confronted with facts and had to consider my feelings and previously held ...more
Livia Blackburne
This was a hard read, but a really important one for understanding the underage sexual exploitation of American girls. Rachel Lloyd does a good job of explaining the psychological factors and methods behind why a teenage girl would enter “the life” in the first place, why she’d stay on the streets despite abusive pimps and violent johns and even return to the streets after getting out. Lloyd also explores the stigma against “teen prostitutes" that makes them easy targets for abuse. A lot of the ...more
Ellen C
Nov 02, 2011 Ellen C rated it it was amazing
This is an intense read. I was angry and crying through a lot of it. I have always had an interest in the sexual exploitation of women and girls in other countries but I hadn't learned much about how those same things might be happening here in the US. My perceptions on prostitution and the sex trade in America were changed. It was difficult to read but important to read. There are children being exploited and forced into prostitution here in the US and they are being treated as criminals rather ...more
Jan 09, 2015 Kyliecallme rated it liked it
Refuse to finish. "Sex work isn't about choice, it's about lack of choices". Umm, no. Huge blanket statement that doesn't apply to all sex work or every sex worker.

Moreover, this book is *barely* a memoir/autobiography, which is what I thought I was getting. Statistic after statistic... Not saying that's an awful thing, just not what I signed up for. Stopped at 80% done.
Jun 07, 2012 Lyndsay rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
Rachel's story is powerful and inspiring but the book was a little too dry. There were parts that were very repetitive. Reading it did make me want to donate to GEMS so her words clearly struck a chord with me.
Jun 02, 2013 Jill rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this. I love how the author shares the story of GEMS, her personal history, and the stories of her girls.. but also gives a picture of the larger systemic problems that are the underlying parts of this issue. So powerful!
Mary Kay Aronson
Jul 31, 2015 Mary Kay Aronson rated it really liked it
Sexual exploitation of youth in our society is epidemic. This book, written by a woman who made it out of the life, will open your eyes to the sad way children are treated as criminals, when the truth is that they are the victims.
Melissa Paisley
Jan 18, 2015 Melissa Paisley rated it it was amazing
I didn't want to put this down, as it educated me on the issue of trafficking. Also, Rachel shares her own story which is heart wrenching and beautiful.
Apr 29, 2015 Cynthia rated it really liked it
Not an easy read, but an incredibly well written account that takes a sobering and real look at commercial sexual exploitation.
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Share This Book

“Children who are victimized through sexual abuse often begin to develop deeply held tenets that shape their sense of self: 'My worth is my sexuality. I'm dirty and shameful. I have no right to my own physical boundaries.' That shapes their ideas about the world around them: 'No one will believe me. Telling the truth results in bad consequences. People can't be trusted.' It doesn't take long for children to being to act in accordance with these belief systems.
For girls who have experienced incest, sexual abuse, or rape, the boundaries between love, sex, and pain become blurred. Secrets are normal, and shame is a constant.”
“I am both numb and oversensitive, overwhelmed by the need, the raw and desperate need of the girls I am listening to and trying to help. I'm overdosing on the trauma of others, while still barely healing from my own.
I cry for hour at home and have fitful nights of little sleep. My nightmares resurface as my own pain is repeated to me, magnified a thousand times. It feels insurmountable. How can you save everyone? How can you rescue them? How do you get over your pain? How do you ever feel normal?”
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