To inform members of the Texas Tech community about sex trafficking, Cyntoia Brown-Long, a victim of sex trafficking, shared her personal story with media Wednesday.

Brown-Long, who is an author and advocate for criminal justice reform, discussed her discovery of faith at 8 a.m. on Nov. 6 at the Tech School of Law. She will also be speaking at the 9th Annual Celebrate Diversity Awards Banquet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Frazier Alumni Pavilion.

At 16 years old, Brown-Long shot and killed a man who paid her for sex because she feared for her life, she said. She was tried as an adult in Tennessee and was sentenced to life in prison without a chance of parole for 51 years.

“I would be raped on numerous occasions, assaulted and sold by a man I thought I loved,” she said. “One of the darkest times of my life is when a man died in my hands.”

Brown-Long described herself as an outcast since an early age. She said she noticed she was of lighter skin than her parents and was always surrounded by people questioning why her skin color was different.

Brown-Long also was removed from public school and sent off to an alternative school and soon felt unwanted, she said. At an early age, she experienced isolation that led her to seek acceptance. 

Brown-Long believed she was in love with a man and would do anything to satisfy him, she said.

“He found me in a place where I was so desperate,” Brown-Long said regarding her sex trafficker. “I wanted so bad for him to love me that there was nothing that he could ask me to do that I wouldn’t.”

Along with her husband, Brown-Long said she would pray for everyone that was involved with her trial. They started noticing how God was moving people and has since kept her faith strong.

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