Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Book Review: Girls Like Us

Rachel Lloyd grew up in England and was a victim of the commercial sex industry as a teenager in Germany.  She has since moved to the US and devotes her life to helping young American girls who are the unheard victims of sexual trafficking.  They are not kidnapped and taken overseas, but are victimized right here in our own country.  The plight of these girls, frequently black or Latino, goes unnoticed and unmonitored because our culture identifies "teen prostitution" as less significant than domestic sex trafficking of minors.  This book is a heartbreaking examination of the domestic sex trade and the children who are victimized by it, although they are frequently not recognized by the government or our culture as victims.  Lloyd shares her story and the stories of countless young girls she has helped through GEMS, her non-profit organization devoted to helping the victims of the domestic sex trade.

I was really impressed with the quality of Lloyd's writing.  I think she's combined accessibility for a wide range of readers with valid, well-conducted research.  A large portion of the book is anecdotal - stories from Lloyd's personal experiences and from the lives of the girls she works with.  The heart-to-heart story telling will appeal to readers who would be turned off by facts and figures and works well to bring out the emotional aspects of the domestic sex trade and its effect on children.  However, it's also obvious that Lloyd knows what she's talking about for those are interested in the statistics and research that back up these heartbreaking stories.  She documents all of her research and cites all of her sources, which means that interested readers can follow up on the studies she uses.

Entertainment Value
This is, of course, a book that it's hard to say you were entertained by, since it's main topic is the sexual exploitation of young girls.  However, I will say that it's a book that I couldn't put down.  I was fascinated by the tragedy that's taking place in our own country that we are so quick to gloss over as "teen prostitution" or a choice that is willingly made.  Lloyd's own story is both heartbreaking and inspiring. 

I highly recommend this book to pretty much everyone.  It's interesting and moving and will hopefully change the way you look at the domestic commercial sex industry.  Also, if the topic interests you, check out the documentary that has been made on GEMS called Very Young Girls.  I saw it several years ago and was very moved.  You can also click here to see the GEMS website.

Thank you to TLC for letting me be a part of the tour for this one.  Click here to see the list of other participants.


  1. Entertaining, no, but important, yes. Maybe if more people read this book then fewer girls would be victimized.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  2. Such a heart breaking topic. I can't imagine what these girls must go through. If we can stop this happening to even one girl, it's worth any amount of effort!