While many protest the exploitation of modern day families who agree to be the stars of reality shows, none of the stories come close to the tragic lives experienced by the Dionne Quintuplets. Born in Ontario, Canada, during the spring of 1934, the five little infant girls were identical and considered a medical miracle.
Under the guise of desiring to protect the unique babies from exploitation, Dr. Allen Roy Dafoe, with the assistance of the Canadian government seized custody of the girls. A special facility was constructed across from their home and became known as Quintland. The location evolved into a type of amusement park where the public was invited to gaze upon the children multiple times during the day throughout their development. Mr. and Mrs. Dionne were not allowed to visit their daughters.
For nine years, millions came to see the children. The facility used the girls in promotional ads and their likenesses endorsed memorabilia and products. The exploits won the physician and the government an estimated $500 million. However, the children reportedly received little if any compensation. The children were also studied by various research teams throughout their young lives.
The Dionnes pursued a battle for custody and finally succeeded when the girls were nine. But once at home, the children reportedly were the victims of emotional, psychological and sexual abuse by their parents. Though the girls left home at the age of 18, they never quite recovered from the trauma inflicted upon them by the people that they should have been able to trust.