Anti-sex trafficking activist Rachel Lloyd to deliver Cuninggim Lecture on Women in Culture and Society March 24

Rachel Lloyd
Rachel Lloyd

In 1998, Rachel Lloyd, a 23-year-old woman who had been sexually exploited as a teenager, founded Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS) as a one-woman, kitchen table project designed to support American girls and young women who had survived sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking.

Today, GEMS is one of the largest providers of services to commercially sexually exploited and domestically trafficked youth in the United States. Lloyd will talk about her work during a lecture at Vanderbilt University on Tuesday, March 24.

Lloyd will deliver the 2015 Cuninggim Lecture on Women in Culture and Society. The event is free and open to the public and begins at 6 p.m. in the Board of Trust Room at the Student Life Center. The Cuninggim Lecture is endowed through the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center at Vanderbilt University.

Nationally recognized for her innovative work in transforming the understanding of survivor leadership, Lloyd was honored in 2014 as one of the “20 Women Changing the World” by Marie Claire magazine and as a recipient of the C10 Award 2014, which celebrates 10 global leaders and their fight against the trafficking of children. She also was a recipient of a 2009 Ashoka Fellowship and the Frederick Douglass Award from the North Star Fund, among many other accolades.

She co-produced the ground-breaking Showtime documentary Very Young Girls, which has been seen by more than 4 million people and created a national dialogue on the issue. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed Girls Like Us and has advocated for survivors at the White House, the United Nations and before Congress.

Lloyd earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Marymount Manhattan College and a master’s degree in applied urban anthropology from the City College of New York.

GEMS provides intensive services and support to more than 350 girls and young women, preventive outreach and education to 1,500 youth, and training to more than 1,300 professionals each year.

About the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center at Vanderbilt

Under the auspices of the Office of the Dean of Students, the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center offers a space for the entire Vanderbilt community to gather, nurture and support one another, as well as celebrate women’s achievements. The center develops and presents programs about gender and women’s issues, enhances women’s practical skills and fosters creative expression.

For more information on this event or the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center, please call (615) 322-4843 or visit its website.