If Cyntoia Brown Can Be Released from Prison, Why Not Trafficking Survivor Alexis Martin?
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam just granted clemency to Brown, who was forced to trade sex for money, but Ohio’s governor declined this week to do the same for Martin.
When Alexis Martin was 15, Angelo Kerney, the man she says forced her into exotic dancing and selling drugs for him, was shot and killed by a man who came to rob him. Martin, who was having sex with Kerney’s brother in another room at the time, was accused of being in on the plot. That was Nov. 7, 2013. She’s 20 now, serving a 21-years-to-life sentence in a Dayton, Ohio, prison for his murder.
Martin’s attorneys say her case was mishandled because, as a minor who had been trafficked, she was entitled to protections under Ohio’s Safe Harbor law. Her case has parallels to that of Cyntoia Brown, who was also serving a lengthy sentence for a murder committed while she was in the sex trade as a minor. Brown has been in prison for 15 years and was granted a commutation this week by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.
“It means a lot to me that [Cyntoia Brown] is getting clemency,” Martin told The Appeal through her attorney, Jennifer M. Kinsley.
Melissa Gira Grant, writing for The Appeal, looks at the case of Alexis Martin — who claims she also was the victim of human trafficking. It’s worth a read.