Cyntoia Brown was just 16 years old when she killed the man who had just purchased her for sex. She’s been serving a life sentence for the last 15 years, in what many consider a travesty of justice. Sex trafficked at a very young age, Brown was repeatedly raped and physically abused by her pimp, a man called “Cut Throat.”
The 2011 documentary film about her life, crime, and sentencing called Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story also revealed that Brown likely suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome, which has many side effects, not the least of which can be brain damage. Her mother has admitted to drinking heavily while she was pregnant. That evidence was not submitted during her 2004 trial and Derri Smith, founder, and CEO of non-profit End Slavery Tennessee told CNN that if tried today, her case would likely be handled very differently.
“If you look at Cyntoia’s original transcripts, they are peppered with the phrase ‘teen prostitute.’ We know today there’s no such thing as a teen prostitute … because this teen may think that she decided this was her idea to be raped multiple times a day and give money to someone else, it’s pretty clear there’s an adult behind that who’s manipulating and exploiting her.”