Cyntoia Brown-Long On Realizing She Was a Victim of Sex Trafficking
Instagram

Kim Kardashian -- among other celebrities such as Rihanna and LeBron James -- used social media platforms to shine a spotlight on Brown-Long's case.

Cyntoia Brown-Long -- the Tennessee woman who was imprisoned for killing a man when she was a teenager -- said it took her "many, many years" to realize she was a sex trafficking victim.

In 2004, she was charged with fatally shooting 43-year-old Johnny Allen -- who allegedly hired her for sex when she was 16. Lawyers for Brown-Long argued she acted in self-defense.

Kim Kardashian -- among other celebrities such as Rihanna and LeBron James -- used social media platforms to shine a spotlight on Brown-Long's case and she was granted clemency this year after serving 15 years in jail.

Now Brown-Long is opening up about her life as she sat down for an interview with CBS News on Wednesday.

"I was in my late twenties when I actually realized that I was a trafficking victim. For so long, you know I had thought, 'No, they said that I was a teenage prostitute. I knew what I was doing,'" Brown-Long began.

Brown-Long said she was forced into prostitution by an older boyfriend after becoming a runaway on the streets of Nashville. He essentially became her pimp, collecting money from the men he set her up with for sexual favors. But Brown-Long blamed herself.

"You know, of course, I let him manipulate me into doing this," she said. "I thought I was doing something for someone I figure was my boyfriend and that wasn't necessarily the truth."

Once she realized she was a victim, Brown-Long wanted to know why.

"You know there's a certain element where you're just vulnerable because you're a child your mind is just naturally impressionable in that way," she explained. "But it was like, why was it just so easy for this man to come along and in the space of a few weeks I was doing these things?"

Even if she never finds all the answers, Brown-Long said she hopes her story will help others.

"In some way, everybody is just one bad decision, one mistake, one accident from being caught up in the justice system," she explained. "We all should be invested in making sure that it's treating people the way they should be treated, the way that you would want to be treated."

Advertisement