According to her mother, the 20-year-old has the mental capacity of a 9-year-old.
Whether or not that’s true, the authorities in one state have charged
the young woman with federal crimes involving prostitution and sex trafficking.
When the girl had gone missing, the mother found out that her daughter
was on backpage.com, a website that advertises adult services like
prostitution, and which her daughter was featured in “very provocative pictures”
and was advertised for sex in multiple states.
She persuaded a police officer to put her daughter on the missing person
national database, as Michelle Li reports, which in turn led to the young
woman’s arrest during a traffic stop. Now the young woman faces
serious charges, as if she’d come up with the scheme on her own.
Her mother said, “My daughter’s not a criminal. She doesn’t
have the mental capacity to come up with this idea on her own. This is
bigger than her and bigger than most people in this community know, and
it’s happening right underneath our noses.”
Apparently the young woman suffers from bipolar disorder and ADD, along
with an unspecified trauma when she was a child. The bipolar disorder,
ADD and trauma have combined to make it pretty difficult for the 20-year-old
to function effectively; in fact, she was in “special classes”
in her high school.
Perhaps more troubling, when it comes to the decision of law enforcement
to bring federal charges against the young woman, is the fact that it’s
clear, at least based on the professional backpage.com advertisements,
that someone else was behind it.
“There’s a perception out there,” said her mother, “that
girls of this age are making the choice … my daughter would never
have chosen this as a career.”