The 13-year-old daughter of Kubiiki Pride, 39, from Atlanta, had been missing for nine months when the mother found her... on the escorts section of U.S. classifieds website Backpage.com. The girl had snuck out to go to an end-of-school party in April 2009, but was captured by a female trafficker. She was eventually caught and sentenced to five years in prison, but the ad on Backpage still remained. Kubiiki sued Backpage for enabling sex trafficking, but her case was dismissed: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act states that a website providing a service is not the publisher of the content that the users post and can't be held accountable.
"I Am Jane Doe" is the new documentary that features the story of Kubiiki and other mothers who are in legal battle on behalf of their daughters that were trafficked for commercial sex and sold on the website. "I don’t even know how to heal from that type of trauma, and I don’t have the adequate help to help her to heal from that" said Kubiiki in an interview. "I don’t know what to do. I go day to day not knowing what to do."
When Kubiiki's accepted the help of a woman who told her she’d help her get home after she had snuck out to the party, she became one of the 150,000 young people believed to fall victim to human trafficking in the U.S. It was Kubiiki's husband who offered to look at the escort pages online. He had heard from a neighbor that missing children could be found on Craigslist.
"We went through all of the ads to see if my daughter was on that site, and she wasn’t, so we were relieved," Kubiiki said. "I use Backpage anyway, and my husband was like, they have an escort section on there too, and so I clicked on it and I went through a couple of ads, scrolled down and clicked on one that I thought was, maybe, cute – I don’t know. And then I opened it and there was my little girl. I felt heartbroken, happy, devastated; I could have died in that exact moment, but I rejoiced so much because I was so happy."
Her daughter was pictured naked from the waist up, posed in provocative poses while wearing only underwear. Kubiiki called the police, but became impatient after being referred to their cyber division. She "booked" her daughter herself for $200. "I called, and I was surprised that someone picked up," said the mother.
"But I had already started so I just went ahead and asked if I could purchase her. I hid around the corner as I thought that the person was going to come with her. When I saw her step off her train I came from behind the car, and she just fell on the ground and started crying. She looked so different, she had lost so much weight – it had been almost a year, and she was taller, she was different."
Kubiiki's daughter admitted that she was addicted to drugs as well as having been repeatedly raped and abused."Everything that went on that day, even though it was very happy to get her back home, to see the damage that had been done to her physically and to know there was so much internal damage... I couldn’t even deal with the physical aspect," she said. The daughter had been in hospitals for over a year, tried to run away several times. "She can’t work, she has emotional breakdowns very often, and she has a hard time being around people, so school, work, things like that have not even been an option for her," says Kubiiki. "She sleeps at odd times because she still has nightmares."