Cyntoia Brown — the woman who became a cause célèbre after a conviction for killing a man while she said she was a sex trafficking victim and later had her life sentence commuted — was released on Wednesday morning (Aug. 7) after 15 years served.
Brown already has a plan to pay it forward. Brown inked a book deal with Atria Books, and in a statement released Monday (Aug. 5), the 31-year-old vowed to help other female victims “suffering abuse and exploitation.”
“While first giving honor to God who made all of this possible, I would also like to thank my many supporters who have spoken on my behalf and prayed for me,” the statement begins. “I’m blessed to have a very supportive family and friends to support me in the days to come. I look forward to using my experiences to help other women and girls suffering abuse and exploitation.”
Brown, who was granted clemency at the top of the year and will be freed on Aug. 7, goes on to thank former Tennessee Governor Gov. Bill Haslam and First Lady Haslam “for their vote of confidence in me and with the Lord’s help I will make them as well as the rest of my supporters proud.”
The Tennessee native worked on her book over her 15 years in prison. She will remain on parole supervision for the next 10 years, on the condition she does not violate any state or federal laws, holds a job, and participates in regular counseling sessions, per her commutation. In addition to her impending release, a Go Fund Me account has been launched in an effort to help Brown get back on her feet.
Before her release Wednesday, she met with prison counselors to design a plan for life on the outside, which will include time in a transition center and continuing coursework with the Lipscomb University program, Tennessee’s Department of Corrections said.
Brown, a child sex trafficking victim, was only 16 years old when she was convicted of murdering a 43-year-old man who solicited her for sex. Although originally sentenced to 51 years to life, Brown’s story has garnered international attention and simultaneously shed light on the often overlooked epidemic of child sex trafficking in America.
Brown’s book, Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System, will be published Oct. 15.