Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, Inc.

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

March 2015

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

April 2012 – November 2014

While the trafficking of youth is often seen as a foreign problem, there has been an increased acknowledgment that youth in the U.S. also are commercially sexually exploited and domestically trafficked (CSEDT).

If they receive health care services at all, exploited youth are most likely to get care in emergency departments. In many cases, traffickers only allow exploited youth to receive care if their need was urgent. As medical professionals and frontline emergency department personnel are able to physically separate patients from their traffickers during medical care, they therefore have an opportunity to identify, have meaningful conversations with, and provide critical resources to CSEDT youth in a safe and confidential setting. However, because of a lack of awareness and training, many providers are currently unable to do this.

In 2012, NYHealth awarded a grant to Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, Inc., (GEMS) to improve identification of CSEDT youth in emergency departments and increase referrals to needed services.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Trained 403 physicians, nurses, hospital social workers, administrative staff members, and other key health care professionals at 8 hospitals and 5 clinics;
  • Worked with New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation to link emergency department personnel with family planning clinics that could provide additional support for special cases;
  • Received referrals from hospitals, allowing GEMS to provide needed care and support for victims; 
  • Redesigned the training program to better meet time and scheduling demands of busy emergency department personnel; and
  • Implemented two curriculums for online training: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention-supported Community Intervention Project train-the-trainer curriculum and GEM’s Victim, Survivor, Leader curriculum.

Throughout the duration of the grant, many health professionals were identified as leaders who were committed to providing care and support to victims of trafficking. As a result, GEMS will pursue opportunities to train medical students before they enter their residency programs.