Kubiiki Pride, from Atlanta, Georgia, found her daughter—who was 13 years old at that time— identified as MA on the escorts section a classified website nine months after she went missing.
MA, whose story was told in the documentary I Am Jane Doe, sneaked out of the house one night to go to a party, but ended up being taken by a trafficker, thinking the woman was going to help bring her home.
After 270 days of her daughter’s disappearance, Pride started looking online and said she was scrolling through Backpage.com when she came across her daughter’s ad.
“It was the third link from the top. It had stars and hearts, and it said young and new,” Pride explained.
Pride said that the stars and hearts somehow caught her attention, when she clicked it, she was horrified to find explicit photos of her daughter.
The photos on the site showed MA wearing only underwear and posing provocatively.
“I called and asked to purchase the services myself,” Pride said.
When MA was returned to her, Pride said she was addicted to drugs and had been dreadfully abused.
“My daughter was stabbed and burned, her head shaved, and she was beaten,” the mother said.
According to Pride, her daughter ran away two more times, both times being MA was returned to her.
“I said why are you running away?” Pride said in the documentary.
“Well mom I have to go and get these pills,” MA answered.
The female trafficker was caught and sentenced to five years in prison in 2010, but the advertisement featuring explicit photos of MA remained up and running.
“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. She argued that the website facilitated child sex trafficking but the 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.
Apart from Craigslist, Backpage is the largest online classified site in America and is also the place where 80% of human trafficking ads can be found.
Pride and MA said they had used the Backpage before to buy things like couches, televisions, and video games, and were shocked to find out that children’s bodies are also being sold.
“I just never knew there were humans for sale,” Pride said.
Not only was Backpage not held responsible for what happened to MA, but the site also refused to remove the photos of the teen until the website was shut down in 2017.
“I asked them to take photos of my daughter down,” Pride said. “And they didn’t do so, I was just so angry.”
Pride explained that the law that protected them, was supposed to provide an online safe haven, but ended up becoming a loophole that these websites could use to justify human trafficking.
“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.
MA, now 25, said she is still having to come to terms with what happened with her.
Pride said that her little girl who was precocious, nosy, and opinionated is now broken, but still full of love.
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