(SL) – The sex trafficking problem rears its ugly head daily in Atlanta, GA. Kubiiki Pride is sharing her story through a documentary titled “I am Jane Doe” that was released on Netflix early this year.
Kubiiki’s daughter (called MA) sneaked out of the house one night to go to an end of the school year party and quickly found herself in trouble. The 13-year old left with a woman who she thought was going to take her home and ended up being kidnapped by the female trafficker.
Gone without a trace, after 270 days, Pride started looking online and said she was scrolling through Backpage.com when she came across online advertisement offering sex with her her daughter.
It was the escorts section of Backpage.com
According to the FBI, the average age that a girl is first recruited into prostitution or sex trafficking in the U.S. is 11-14 years-old.
The most recent numbers show sex trafficking in Georgia generated nearly $300 million a year.
Pride says, “It was the third link from the top. It had stars and hearts, and it said young and new,’ she explained.
The Daily Mail reports, something about the stars and hearts caught her attention and she clicked it to find explicit photos of her daughter wearing only underwear and posing provocatively.
“I called and asked to purchase the services myself,” she said. When her daughter was returned to her, she said she was addicted to drugs and had been horribly abused.
‘My daughter was stabbed and burned, her head shaved, and she was beaten,’ she said. She ran away two more times, both times being returned to her mother.
‘I said why are you running away?’ Pride said in the documentary while choking back tears. ‘And she said, “Well mom I have to go and get these pills.”‘
The woman who trafficked MA was caught and sentenced to five years in prison in 2010, but the advertisement featuring explicit photos of the teen remained online.
‘Once I told her about all the pain and suffering I went through and that I wanted revenge, she also did,’ MA said in the documentary.
In 2011 Pride sued Backpage.com – arguing the website facilitated child sex trafficking – but her case was dismissed under 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
The act states that a website providing a service can’t be held accountable as the ‘publisher’ for anything users post or advertise on it.
Backpage is the largest online classified site in the United States besides craigslist, and is home to 80 percent of the human trafficking advertisements in the country.
Pride and her daughter said they had used the website before to buy things like couches, televisions and video games, and were shocked to find out that children’s bodies could be sold.
‘I just never knew there were humans for sale,’ Pride said.
Not only was Backpage not held responsible for what happened to MA, they refused to remove the photos of the 13-year-old until the website was shut down earlier this year.
This company of adults made the decision to post these pictures without even taking the time to find out if they were children,’ Pride said.
Now 22, MA said she is still having to come to terms to what happened with her.
Her mom said that her little girl who was precocious, nosy and opinionated is now broken, but still full of love.
Sex trafficking is something that impacts at least 150,000 young people in the United States, many of who are brutally raped, abused and unable to return to a normal way of life.
A Senate report alleged the advertising site was teaching its users how to post ads without revealing the true illegal nature of its transaction.
The senate alleges the site systematically altered ads after finding out that emails told users to remove words such as ‘daddy’s girl,’ ‘cheerleader,’ ‘teenager,’ and ‘amber alert.’
Backpage has denied the allegations and argued it has been a victim of censorship and shouldn’t be held accountable.
In a separate lawsuit, CEO Carl Ferrer, 55, and former owners James Larkin, 67, and Michael Lacey, 68, were not charged for pimping charges after a California judge ruled against it on free speech grounds.
Prosecutors have alleged that more than 90 per cent of Backpage’s revenue — millions of dollars each month — comes from adult escort ads that use coded language and nearly nude photos to offer sex for money.
The website shut down its Adult section in January, but Backpage executives refused to testify during a hearing that same month – pleading the fifth.
‘The decision of Backpage.com today to remove its Adult section in the United States will no doubt be heralded as a victory by those seeking to shutter the site, but it should be understood for what it is: an accumulation of acts of government censorship using extra-legal tactics,’ they said in a statement.