Wichita children abducted from school and forced to work as prostitutes are trying to get their lives back to normal." /> Wichita children abducted from school and forced to work as prostitutes are trying to get their lives back to normal." />
Friday, Jan. 28, 2005
“It’s a scary thought to think you may never see them again,” says Ashley, whose identity we’re hiding, to protect her 16-year-old daughter. Ashley lived with fear. Her child was one of the victims of a multi-state child prostitution ring.
“A parent’s mind will race,” says Ashley, who’s trying to alert parents to warning signs. “You could imagine all kinds of things when you’re a parent and you can’t find your child. You imagine them being found dead.”
Ashley’s daughter had run away from home before. But this time, in 2004, something was different. Ashley and her ex-husband notify police and continue searching.
“We as parents felt it was more our obligation to find her, because we really didn’t feel like we were getting any help,” Ashley says.
After three days, Ashley gets a call from Oklahoma City. Her daughter says she’s scared, but OK. Ashley’s daughter was part of a ring of child prostitutes, many from Northwest High School, who were forced to work at truck stops in Oklahoma City. The ring involved a half-dozen young Wichita girls. The FBI investigation, which follows, convicts close to a dozen men of prostitution charges, including Troy Sutherland and a Wichita father and son: Bobby Prince Sr. and Junior. Junior was once a start athlete at Northwest.
Ashley’s daughter talked about one of the men holding her.
“She had said this gentleman would buy them new clothes and get their hair done and their nails done and I said, ‘What do you think he's wanting you to do?’” says Ashley. “That's when it was, ‘Mom I want to come home.’”
Ashley’s ex-husband races to Oklahoma City and rescues the girl. Her hair was bleached and her scalp burned from the rough dye job. Ashley hopes her family’s ordeal will help prevent others.
“You don’t have to have a bad relationship with your child for this to happen,” Ashley says.