Cyntoia Brown-Long is an author, speaker, and advocate for criminal justice reform and victims of trafficking.
Cyntoia had a difficult start in life. She was born to an alcoholic, teenage mother who was a victim of sex trafficking. Cyntoia experienced a sense of isolation, low self-esteem, and alienation that drove her straight into the hands of a predator. Cyntoia was trafficked during her early teenage years and, at the age of 16, was arrested for killing a man who solicited her for sex. She was tried as an adult and was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole for 51 years. Her trafficker was never arrested. In prison, Cyntoia’s life took a dramatic turn when the prison education principal took her under her wing and introduced her to a spiritual path. She encouraged her to build a positive life in prison and to resist the negative influences that lead to despair.
Cyntoia’s journey was a roller coaster ride that included a documentary about her life, a profound encounter with God, an unlikely romance, and, eventually, a commuted sentence by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. She received unprecedented national and international support from social media advocates, pastors, and celebrities and was released from prison in Nashville, TN, on August 7, 2019.