Sex Trafficking Victim Lisa Montgomery’s Execution Would Be The Last Injustice in Her Tragic Life
Andrea Powell, Karana Rising
January 12, 2021
In 2004, child sex trafficking victim, Lisa Montgomery, was arrested and later sentenced to the death penalty. Tonight, her fate rests in the hands of the President of the United States who has shown a strong push toward executions before President-elect Joe Biden takes office and likely halts federal executions.
Lisa’s life and likely death should not be political, but it is. She has suffered enough in a country where victims like her are often overlooked and left to fend for themselves.
‘Victims of child sex trafficking like Lisa are abused, tortured and sexually abused often for years. I see Lisa’s execution as society just cleaning up the mess they caused by not helping her as a child. It terrifies me. I know what’s like to be a child victim in prison. I’ve been locked up for 9 years after my trafficker trafficked another teen girl alongside me.” — Tiffany Simpson, Survivor and Advocacy Lab Associate, Karana Rising
Lisa’s death would show just how far we have to go to understanding sex trafficking and protecting victims before it’s too late. Child sex trafficking victims are not invisible. They are children who went to schools, churches, doctors and played on playgrounds. Lisa was never identified as a child victim despite severe sexual abuse by parents who were so awful that her older foster sister was removed from her care. We can’t help but ask why Lisa was left to such a horrible fate and why were her rapists never held accountable?
In 2015, federal legislation mandated that child sex trafficking is a form of child abuse. If the federal government now understands that what happened to Lisa was child abuse, how can they then allow her execution?
There are so many young victims of human trafficking who are systematically ignored and even mistreated by the very systems — such as the child welfare system — meant to protect them.
There are survivors like Jessica and Jordan Hampton, two teen victims of sex trafficking who are being charged with the murder of the pedophile who was about to buy and rape them.
Then, there is Tiffany Simpson, a teen victim of sex trafficking whose trafficker forced her to traffic another girl or he would burn her grandmother alive. She is serving 20 years of a 30 year sentence.
“All of these survivors should have been seen and helped BEFORE they were forced into acts that have landed them in jail. The real injustice is that they were not. Killing Lisa and leaving so many other young survivors to rot in jail is not justice. It’s the legal system’s way of making survivors disappear so that society can simply look away.” — Andrea Powell, Executive Director, Karana Rising
If someone in Lisa’s life had paid attention to her abuse and suffering, which was not hidden, she could have gotten help. Maybe she would have been able to lead a safer and more loving life. Maybe she would not have been mentally broken to the point of committing the crime that she did. Maybe another little girl would still have her mom. Now, the systems that should have protected her are being used to likely kill her.
Killing Lisa would be the last injustice in her tragic life. Pardoning her would be an act of mercy.
Twitter: @wearekaranarising, @ankachristine
Karana Rising is a survivor led organization where survivors of human trafficking exploitation and sexual assault create innovative solutions to supporting survivors for life.