In 2004, Cyntoia Brown was sentenced to life in prison when she was just 16 years old for killing a man who paid her for sex. Now, celebrities are rallying to set her free.
A photo with a caption detailing Cyntoia's harrowing life of continuous rape in the sex-trafficking underworld went viral on Monday and was shared by celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Bella Thorne, and more. "I f--king hate our system," Bella tweeted on Nov. 21. "I feel so wrecked about this. I’m so so sorry for everyone wronged by our government."
Kim added that she called her lawyers in an effort to help. "The system has failed. It’s heartbreaking to see a young girl sex trafficked then when she has the courage to fight back is jailed for life! We have to do better & do what’s right. I’ve called my attorneys yesterday to see what can be done to fix this. #FreeCyntoiaBrown."
Cyntoia shot and killed Johnny Allen, 43, in 2004, after he solicited her for sex and brought her back to his home. Cyntoia told the court during her 2006 trial that she feared for her life. She also revealed that she was forced into child prostitution by a violent boyfriend who used and abused her to make money.
Despite the horrific circumstances — and the fact that children and teens cannot consent to sex with an adult — the court found her guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced her to life in prison with eligibility for parole when she turns 69 years old. Prosecutors argued that she killed him to rob him, as she left the scene with his wallet and gun.
"Did we somehow change the definition of #JUSTICE along the way??" Rihanna wrote on Instagram. "Cause..... Something is horribly wrong when the system enables these rapists and the victim is thrown away for life! To each of you responsible for this child's sentence I hope to God you don't have children, because this could be your daughter being punished for punishing already!"