In 2004 a then-16-year-old Cyntoia Brown, a child sex slave, was arrested for the murder of Johnny Allen, a 43-year-old man who was using her after he had picked her up at a Nashville, Tenn., Sonic fast-food restaurant. Brown’s story has been brought to the world’s attention via a documentary by filmmaker Dan Birman, who has documented her case from trial to her subsequent incarceration.
According to WZTV Fox 17, Brown’s life was anything but a crystal stair. From being given up for adoption at the age of 2, being raped as a child and substance abuse, Brown was a runaway by 2004. And that’s when a pimp named “Kutthroat” entered her life.
Birman’s documentary details the life Brown had as a child sex slave.
“We started the conversation,” Birman said. “This is a young girl who’s at the tail end of three generations of violence against women.”
During Brown’s 2006 trial, Brown explained how she was fearful of both her pimp and Allen.
“She was picked up by a 43-year-old man.” Birman said of Allen. “Cyntoia was 16 years old.”
During trial, she detailed how Allen had threatened her with a gun. But apparently the court did not take any of that into account and handed down a sentence of life in prison with parole eligibility after 53 years.
Over the last 48 hours, Birman’s documentary has gone viral, and the hashtag #FreeCyntoiaBrown has been used by celebrities on social media as a rallying cry to call attention to Brown’s story:
Brown is now 29 years old and considered a model prisoner at the Tennessee Prison for Women, but she won’t be eligible for parole until she’s 69. Those rallying for Brown’s story to be heard are hoping that the governor and the parole board look into her case, which has been used to help change Tennessee law for anyone 18 and under who’s been charged with prostitution.
Read more at WZTV Fox 17.