US mother shares how she had to buy missing daughter online

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A pile of dolls rest in a chair in Ginger Benfield's backyard in the aftermath of tropical storm Harvey in west Houston, Texas, U.S. September 11, 2017. Reuters/Chris Aluka Berry

A mother from Atlanta, Georgia, has shared how she bought her missing daughter after seeing an online advertisement offering sex, with her 13-year-old posted on the classifieds site. The teenager had been taken by a female trafficker.

Less than a year after she disappeared, Kubiiki Pride found her daughter on the escorts section of Backpage.com. After 270 days, she began looking online and was scrolling through the site when she came across the ad featuring her daughter, who was identified as MA.

Pride recalled that she found her daughter on the third link from the top. It had stars and hearts, and read “young and new.”

She said the stars and hearts caught her attention, so she clicked and found explicit pictures of her daughter. The teenager was photographed wearing underwear and posing provocatively.

Pride contacted the site and asked to purchase the services. “My daughter was stabbed and burned, her head shaved, and she was beaten,” she said, according to the Daily Mail. She was also addicted to drugs.

The girl’s story was told in the documentary “I Am Jane Doe.” She attended an end-of-school party one night and ended up being taken by a female trafficker. She thought the stranger was bringing her home.

Pride sued Backpage.com in 2011, arguing that the website facilitated child sex trafficking. The case was dismissed under 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which states that a site providing a service cannot be held responsible since it only published user advertisement. Backpage said the site was a victim of censorship.

Backpage is one of the largest online classified sites in the United States. Pride and her daughter said they had used the website before to purchase stuff like couches, televisions and video games.

The woman who trafficked MA has been caught and sentenced to five years in prison. But the ad featuring explicit photos of the young girl remained online. "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, according to NZ Herald.

Sex trafficking impacts thousands of young people in the United States. Some are raped, abused and unable to return to a normal way of life. Pride said her daughter, now 22, who was nosy and opinionated, is now broken but still full of love. “I Am Jane Doe” was released earlier this year and is available on Netflix.