A Message to Trafficking Victims That Their Lives Matter

Rachel Lloyd

Rachel Lloyd

Sara Kruzan was 16 years old when she was charged with killing her 31-year-old pimp, a man who had been grooming her since she was 11 years old and trafficking her since she was 13.

Abused as a small child and living with a drug-addicted mother, Sara was the ideal victim for the lure of a predator.

While other girls her age were in junior high school, Sara was experiencing the attention and ‘affections’ of a pimp who began to exercise control over her young mind.

When other girls were entering high school, Sara was already being sold to adults, forced to turn over her money to her ‘daddy’ and beaten if she resisted. In fact, Sara’s life up until her arrest was a litany of abuse and trauma, absent and predatory adults, failed systems and a total dearth of support and services.

It is clear that Sara never had the opportunity to be just a young girl and yet mentally and emotionally she was still very much a child.

The court could have decided to take all these mitigating factors into consideration when sentencing her, instead Sara was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

When I first learned about Sara’s case, I was horrified. It was such a clear and egregious abuse of the criminal justice system and my heart went out to this woman, just a few years younger than me who had grown up in jail.

It was hard for me not to feel a sense of survivor’s guilt and recognize that it could have easily been me waking up every day in prison. I remember vividly the night I decided to kill my pimp. It was 1994, the same year Sara was convicted. I was 19 years old, angry and desperate, trapped and hopeless. I knew I would probably go to jail but I didn’t care.

Sara Kruzan

Sara Kruzan

At the time I thought I planned it carefully, in retrospect there was no real plan in place, other than waiting until he was asleep to shoot him, as it would be the only time that I would be able to do it safely.

I knew a guy who knew a guy who would sell me the gun. I hid some of my earnings from my pimp and took the money to the guy.

Fate intervened and I was unable to purchase the gun that night. I lost my momentum, and while I thought about it many more times, I was never able to work up the nerve again to do it.

There is, however, little doubt in my mind that had the gun been in my hand that night, I would have pulled the trigger.

That was 16 years ago and it is hard today to not only picture how different my life could’ve been, but to reconcile that angry, traumatized girl with the woman that I am now.

Since then, I’ve been able to contribute to society in ways that no-one who met the teenaged me could have imagined. I’ve had a chance to travel, get my GED, go to graduate school, fall in love, find peace and most importantly, use my own experiences to provide services to thousands of trafficked and commercially sexually exploited girls.

gemsNot only have I changed immeasurably in the last 16 years, but so has our collective understanding of the commercial sex industry.

When both Sara and I were being pimped and exploited, we weren’t considered trafficked youth, just “prostitutes.” cont’d on page 2


  1. -Nate says

    Thank you for not letting this crime get swept under the rug .

    The simple truth is : most men are not overly concerned about this typ of abuse as it supports the ideal of cheap , easily available sex , the Girls & Women hurt by this are not important to most Men.

    Example : Gov. Swartznegger could have pardoned her and obviously should have . however , this is a man who once bragged during a news interview about how he and a group of Male body builders once gang raped a Black Female body builder when she had the temerity to show up at one of those show off your muscles events…. she merely walked out on stage like the others (all men) and in his own words ‘ we all just jumped on her ‘ .

    I work with a Munincipal Police Department and the anti – Women comments I hear daily are horrific to say the least , not only from the Sworn Personnel , from almost every Male employee .

    • says

      Having worked in a prison, I cannot imagine such behaviors being tolerated by staff or other staff. But, then, we had eight hours of training every year making it very clear inappropriate remarks are under federal law on the workplace.

      However, I have a low tolerance of gossip. If you are going to make such a claim about the Governor, include a source for that information other than some blogger self-indulging themselves with “Chinese Whispers” or “The Telephone Game.”

      • reporter says

        Here’s a link with the full quote by the Gropinator: http://www.blackcommentator.com/106/106_freedom_rider_arnold.html

        Schwarzenegger made the comment to a reporter from Oui Magazine. It’s been widely reported many places and as far as I know he has never refuted it.

        There are also reports that he engaged in orgies on film sets, and that he has groped various women.

        If he won’t pardon this woman, perhaps the incoming Governor Brown will do so.

    • says

      By the way, failure to report a Hostile Workplace puts you at the same risk as those who make it so under federal codes and caselaw. The “Code of Silence” only exists because you allow it.

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