Sixteen-year-old human trafficking victim Sara Kruzan was sentenced to life in prison without parole when, after years of sexual, physical and mental abuse, she shot her pimp. When Sara met G.G., the 31-year-old man who would become her pimp, she was only 11. G.G. groomed Sara two years before he raped her. By then, his control was complete and he forced her into prostitution. Sara and the other girls who G.G. exploited were out on the streets from 6pm to 6am, every night. Twelve hours a night, seven days a week, for three years, Sara was raped by strangers so G.G. could profit. After three years, she snapped, and she killed him.
Now 34, Sara has spent half her life in prison as a model prisoner, and has asked Gov. Schwarzenegger for clemency. Sara was arrested and tried in 1994, before anyone was using the term “human trafficking” and when the country was still struggling to understand issues like domestic violence and pimp control that give one person coercive control over another. So there was no expert witness at Sara’s trial to explain how her years of repeated rape, trauma, and abuse had affected her actions. There was no expert to tell the jury that with counseling, support, and care, Sara could heal from her traumatic past and grow to be a strong and moral woman.
Last year Sara’s clemency plea was submitted to Gov. Schwarzenegger, in which he granted clemency by commuting Sara’s sentence to Life with parole. Although, reducing Sara’s sentence provided her with hope that she would eventually be freed, it is not justice and does not go far enough. Many petitioners along with myself feel that Sara has served more than enough time and that Time Served should be granted.
The decision of whether or not to release Sara with time served rests solely with Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach. Sara Kruzan has spent the past 18 years in prison and deserves freedom. After surviving being raped and sold for three years as a child she deserves a chance to be a free woman, now.
Tell Riverside DA Paul Zellerbach, Gov. Brown, and California Attorney General Kamala Harris that human trafficking victims deserve support and care, not prison. Ask them to release Sara with time served.