In August, Cyntoia Brown-Long was freed from a Tennessee jail, where she was serving out a life sentence for murdering 43-year-old Johnny Allen. On October 16, she appeared on Tamron Hall in her first nationally-syndicated talk show interview to discuss being a victim of sex trafficking, faith, and finally being free.
In 2006, Brown-Long was convicted of killing Allen after he allegedly picked her up for sexual services Her past as a sex trafficking victim deeply traumatized her and led to what happened between them in 2004.
She told Hall:
“I think a lot of times we have a misconception of domestic sex trafficking especially as it pertains to minors in this country. Many times it's not the situation that someone is taken by gunpoint from a bus stop. Many times it's just a little bit of finessing. Many young girls who are caught up in sex trafficking, they’ll tell you, 'This is my boyfriend, not my pimp’ and that’s what I believed.”
Brown-Long's cause came to national attention in 2017, when celebrities, including Rihanna and Kim Kardashian West, advocated on social media for her freedom.
Speaking to Hall, Brown-Long expressed the importance of her faith in her ordeal:
"God gave me this testimony so I could be here, so that I could talk about everything that I experienced and so that other people might be set free through it.”
Later in the show, Brown-Long and Hall were joined by Preston Shipp, a prosecutor who quit his job to become a youth advocate.
Brown-Long's memoir, Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System, is out now from Simon & Schuster.