What Will the Election Mean for Imprisoned Trafficking Victim Sara Kruzan?

The 2010 California governor’s race — while adversarial, expensive, and uncertain — has one predictable outcome: Arnold Schwarzenegger will no longer be the head honcho of the Golden State. And while the Governator has repeatedly shown he’s a four star general in the fight against human trafficking, one young woman is betting her life on that reputation. Will Schwarzenegger put election politics aside long enough to release child trafficking victim Sara Kruzan from prison?

Sara met G.G., the 31-year-old man who would become her pimp, when she was only 11. G.G. groomed Sara for two years by buying her gifts and taking her roller skating. Then when she was 13, he raped her to initiate her into prostitution.  By then, his control was complete.  Sara and the other girls who G.G. exploited were forced to sell sex 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. She was in every sense, a modern-day slave. At just sixteen, and with no other perceivable way out, she shot him to escape slavery.

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. 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 one 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. So she was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. She has now lived half her life in prison.

Sara’s lawyers have submitted a clemency plea to Governor Schwarzenegger, asking that given the heinous nature of the abuse she suffered and the fact that she has already served 16 years for her crime, Sara be released with time served. It is critical that the Governor grants this plea before he leaves office at the end of the year. No matter which of the two candidates is victorious, Governor Schwarzenegger will be leaving with an outstanding record on fighting human trafficking. And if one of his final acts as governor is to release Sara Kruzan with time served, then his record will be just about perfect.

Sara Kruzan deserves hope and justice.  She shouldn’t have to watch election politics distract the one man who can set her free after so many years of being imprisoned by a pimp and then the state of California. She shouldn’t have to endure the wait of explaining her case to another California governor. And she shouldn’t have to be in prison one more day without access to help to heal from her abuse. Ask Governor Schwarzenegger to put election politics aside and release Sara Kruzan before leaving office, no matter who ends up his successor.



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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. What Will the Election Mean for Imprisoned Trafficking Victim Sara ……

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

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