Innocence Lost

"The day before my daughter was supposed to graduate from high school, she disappeared," Cindy says. "It's been two years of hell. I believe Jenna is prostituting on craigslist. I went onto the Web site and found suggestive photos of my daughter. Comments, indicating that there are services that she'll perform that I was totally naïve about. Words I can't even describe because it was seeing my kid in a different light that I had never, ever thought about. It was devastating. The daughter that I knew doesn't exist anymore.

"We had a good life. She was playing sports. Her mother was the PTA president. My daughter had been arrested for solicitation. Last week I found out she was picked up in New Orleans. When my daughter was picked up, it's been a sense of relief, really. At least I knew where she is, and I know she's safe. I got frustrated with the system. Because she's 18, they really can't tell me anything. I believe my daughter is living with this guy who is acting as her pimp. I go to bed every night wondering if tonight is the night I'm going to get the phone call that I have to identify her. I want my daughter back, but the daughter that will come home will be very different. She has experienced things that I probably would never have imagined. It's innocence gone."

Cindy's daughter was invited to come to the show. She declined and gave the statement, "I do want help, but not right now."

Cindy tells Dr. Phil, "I don't even know that she sees it as a problem." Cindy isn't sure what her daughter's life is like. She thought her daughter was in town until she heard she was picked up in another part of the country.

 

[AD]Dr. Phil tells her, "There are intervention strategies. There are inpatient intensive treatment programs that can help people who have gotten into a really toxic lifestyle, to withdraw from that and get traction on a new highway. But you don't think that she even sees this as a problem, that she would even be motivated to do that?"

"Right. And if she was to come back without some kind of intervention or treatment program in place, she's just going to start back to her old ways here," she says. Cindy says the last time her daughter was home, she conducted business from Cindy's house.

"You've kind of given up. I sense resignation in you at this point," Dr. Phil says.

"I haven't totally given up. I keep thinking, because of the contact that we have, she still wants to come back," she says.

Dr. Phil agrees. "The fact that she is still talking to you, I can tell you, is a huge sign of her keeping a hand in reality. She's touching base with her mother. There will be a time, there will be a moment, there will be that homesickness, that fear, something will trigger her, and the fact that you have continued that relationship with her will be your saving grace. If you want to get more aggressive about it, as Sheriff Dart has said to us, you can have her arrested. You can point the law toward her and then get a court-ordered program for her in some way. I'm not sure you have the stomach for that at this point, but that is a possibility."

 

Dr. Phil explains there is a group of 40 attorneys general who have formed a coalition to get rid of erotic ads on craigslist and other social networking sites. Dr. Phil introduces Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal who spearheads that coalition. "Tell me where these efforts are at this point," Dr. Phil says.

[AD]"Well, we have negotiated an agreement that has made some progress. A lot of the prostitution ads have been reduced, in some areas as much as 90 percent, but we are going to be demanding even stronger measures, because there is technology available to eliminate the pornography and the kinds of abuses that lead to the lives that we've seen here. It is not a victimless crime. We're planning to demand stronger measures, from craigslist and other sites, to do the hashing technology, the filtering, screening, so that pornography and prostitution will be ridden from these sites," Richard says.

"If they say they want to eliminate this and don't want it, why do they just not refuse to take erotic ads?" Dr. Phil asks.

"They say that eliminating that erotic services section would mean that the ads would migrate to other sections," he says.

"Yeah, but they're taking money for these ads, right?"

[AD]"They're taking money for these ads, and our negotiated agreement requires that Ashley and Cindy's daughter, when they place these ads, they must give a telephone number, and they must give a credit card number to pay for those ads," Richard explains. "The purpose in that is to give law enforcement a roadmap so the sheriff can track them down, lock them up. That's what we want them to do. We want to crack down on these ads. We need to keep sight of the fact " and you put it well " that this lifestyle, this kind of problem is a very human problem. We're talking about human trafficking, child exploitation, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has been at the forefront of this effort. This problem is not only a crime with victims, but with very, very innocent victims, going well beyond the craigslist issue to the basic core root values in our society."