By Jeff Labrecque
Updated July 07, 2011 at 05:21 PM EDT
Charles Eshelman/

Elizabeth Smart, the Utah woman who was kidnapped and raped by a polygamous street preacher in 2002 when she was only 14 years old, has joined ABC News as a contributor. Now 23 and a music student at Brigham Young University, Smart will appear on ABC News programs for stories that involve missing persons and child abduction cases. “She’ll help our viewers better understand missing person stories from someone with the perspective to know what a family experiences when a loved one goes missing,” ABC spokesperson Julie Townsend said in an e-mail. “Her contributions will be focused on looking ahead, not looking back at her own story.”

Smart recently completed an 18-month Mormon mission, and upon her return, she was approached with several television opportunities from all three networks and various cable entities, according to her spokesperson, Chris Thomas. “I am committed to giving back and getting involved where I can make the greatest difference through child advocacy work,” Smart, who will continue to live in Provo, Utah, said in statement. “Partnering with ABC provides a powerful tool to help me accomplish this. I look forward to working to create awareness for and helping bring other missing children home as well as helping to prevent others from experiencing what I went through.”