Rachel Lloyd says it is essential that boys and men are involved in the fight against CSEC and domestic trafficking. “That’s why we’ve launched the ‘Male Allies’ campaign, which invites everyone to stand by our side.”
Gabriel proudly wears his GEMS t-shirt with the words girls are not for sale. “I’ve become more conscious of my behaviour since hearing the girls’ stories. We have so many words that describe girls in a negative way; they’re part of our culture. Guys and girls use them without thinking. I know better now. If I hear people use them, it does not sit well with me and I tell them to stop.”
Jordan with his niece.
Teaching little sis to be strong
“My mother has made sure I have respect for girls and women,” says Jordan, 18, who often looks after his little sister.
“She’s only three, but I’m gradually going to teach her about the dangers in life. Of course I’ll support her as a brother. But what’s most important is that she can take a stand for herself and her rights.”
Farah, a survivor at GEMS Harlem spot has taken her shoes off.
Grateful for the men in my life
“When I was growing up I was always hanging with boys. I didn’t really trust girls. Then I started developing and boys turned into men, who were interested in me just for sex. Then came the life, where I was sold by a man and bought by men... When I got out of the life, I felt like I could never trust another man ... I expected them all to be the same, but over time I began to meet men who were more like brothers and friends to me... I began to see men as humans, all different, with different experiences, instead of just these nasty, emotionless, sex-driven robots. It took time though, but I’m grateful for some of the men in my life, and I’m grateful for my friendships with women too.”