When Rosabella was 13, she was introduced into prostitution. “While walking the street, I met a female. She introduced me to a website called Craigslist to post ads and get calls from the Internet. I would have a greeting stating, ‘I’m looking for a generous man who is looking to have a good time.’ It would list my prices and the services I provided. On a typical day, I might get 30 calls. On Craigslist, I would probably see six to 15 guys a day,” Rosabella recalls. “Having sex with that many men in one day is very degrading. When meeting gentlemen off of Craigslist, it was more nerve-racking because you didn’t know if they were the police. If you meet them on the streets, you can have them touch you, and you know that they’re not the police.”
[AD]Rosabella describes a dangerous encounter. “I got a call from a guy on Craigslist. When I went on this date, I went alone, and he ended up raping me. After the man had raped me, he had tried to give me extra money so that I wouldn’t go to the police or tell anybody about it,” she reveals. “I decided that I needed to change my life. I got out of prostitution to be able to start a family and do the things that I thought I never could. I had to learn to love myself from within, instead of trying to find love from every other guy.”
“Rosabella, first, thank you for being here. I can’t tell you how important this can be to so many young girls who are out there. You have seen the dark side of this Internet activity,” Dr. Phil tells the young woman. “You were doing drugs and partying, right?”
“Yes,” she replies.
“How old were you when you lost your virginity?”
“I was 12,” she says.
“At 13, you met two guys and went to party with them, and there were a bunch of girls there, right?”
“There were two girls,” she says. “They had their nails done, and they had really nice clothes on, name brands.”
“And they were getting those clothes and all that from the money from having sex,” Dr. Phil says.
“Yes,” she says
[AD]”What did you think at that point?” Dr. Phil asks.
“I was already promiscuous because I was trying to find love. I was looking everywhere for the love from a man, and so I figured I could get paid for it and have sex. That’s easy,” she explains, adding that she had sex 15 times over a two-day period.
“Tell me what happened on Valentine’s Day.”
“It was two weeks after I had been with them. They asked me if I wanted to go walk the streets for the money, and I said no. We got into a little bit of an argument. I turned around and started doing my makeup, and the next thing I knew, he had shot me.”
At 14, Rosabella met a woman who was pregnant. “She told me that she had two cars and an apartment. You know, she kind of tried to bond with me like friends, and then she had me working for her,” she explains, adding that the woman had her working on Craigslist.
“You said it was $250 for an hour, $180 for 30 minutes, $100 for a quickie, and you were making how much a day?”Dr. Phil asks.
“And how much of that did you keep?”
“None,” she says. “I had to give it all to my pimp.”
“What was your motivation? If all the money is going to her?”
“She kept me on drugs, so I was on ecstasy and cocaine. I was drunk all the time, and she would take me shopping, get my nails done, and feed me and let me live at her house,” she explains.
“Kind of like a mother,” Dr. Phil observes, “except that she was exploiting you horribly.”
Rosabella stopped prostituting in December 2009. “I wanted to have my family back. I was about to be 18. It was the holidays, and I had a miscarriage in early December, and I knew that I couldn’t continue on with what I was doing. I didn’t want to use drugs, so it was depressing to try to sell yourself and not be on drugs,” she says. “In March, I started back at Community College, and I graduated with my GED. I’m eight months pregnant, a little bit over, and I live on my own, my own apartment. I work, and that’s my life now.” She adds that she’s working on her relationship with her baby’s father.
[AD]”How does it feel to know that you have your own place, a baby on the way and a real job?” Dr. Phil asks.
“It feels amazing. I never thought that I could even go back and try to finish school. I thought I had missed so much that I couldn’t go back,” she says with a smile.