By: Cheyenne Antonio
Sex trafficking in our tribal communities is a continuance of violence in our communities that we have been dealing with for centuries, so it is not a new concept. As the sex trafficking project coordinator and a Dine womxn/ person of color it’s also not new when justice systems have historically worked against you. Within the past year I’ve spoke with victims who have chosen to share their stories with me about their frustrations, struggles, hopes and goals to sustain themselves forward. All had similar stories of struggling through systemic loops just to be able to get services, discrimination, and minimal support after being forcibly trafficked, etc.
In order to bring awareness to victims of sex trafficking we must also recognize the current struggle of Cythoia Brown who was forcibly trafficked in Tennessee at the age of 16 by a trafficker pimp Cut Throat and sold to 43 year old Johnny Allen. Allen took Cythoia to his home, where she feared Johnny would kill her then later she defended herself and shot Allen once. Later Cythoia was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison. Cythoia is criminalized for defending herself and tried as an adult by the age of sixteen as a woman of color in the courts of Tennessee. The courts of Tennessee unfairly gave Cythoia life in prison and enabling child sex trafficking. He paid for a child, when the child was already forced to sexual acts.
New Mexico is ranked last nationally for child well-being and we recognize the ongoing violence of our children through the media. If we look into the access of shelters and services for young people who are experiencing human trafficking in New Mexico, very little services are provided if you don’t live in cities like Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Also if you need victim services in New Mexico, you have to have a supportive police statement that recognizes your struggles as a victim experiencing sex trafficking.
As people of color it is triggering to make statements to the police because of the colonial violence that has been forcibly placed on us especially victims of sex trafficking. Victims deserve better, especially our children. Conversations need to happen within our families, at work, in our communities for the health of our relatives. As January being Human Trafficking/ Slavery let’s all remember the fierce Cythonia Brown that continues to struggle for her freedom in simply defending herself and all survivors/ victims who continue to defend themselves. CSVANW stands with you.
The situation of
To support Cyntoia and demand her clemency click here: https://blacklivesmatternashville.wordpress.com/2018/12/10/call-gov-haslam-and-demand-clemency4cyntoia/