There’s no neighborhood that is safe from sex trafficking in today’s day and age. Ivan Crisostomo, a postal worker in Sacramento California, was able to save the day.
When he got out of his mail truck to make a delivery, he heard someone crying nearby. He noticed a 16-year-old girl hiding behind the bushes, all alone. He was quick to assess her appearance and behavior while noticing that she was shaking uncontrollably.
This girl turned out to be Crystal Allen. Crisostomo asked if she was okay. She kept pointing to her arms and crying “They were putting things in me.” She also warned that “they” were coming to get her.
The postal worker realized that he needed to think quickly. This is when he realized she was escaping from her abductor. What Crisostomo didn’t realize at the time is that Crystal had been held in captivity for three months, drugged and abused regularly. This all after being lowered to Sacramento by someone she thought was a friend.
Crisostomo wanted to do anything that he could in order to help. The postal carrier became her guardian angel, stepping in to save the day. Crystal wanted to call her mother, though she was clearly in shock and could barely speak.
Not all victims of sex trafficking have a happy ending. Many end much, much worse.
Crystal’s story started with being kidnapped. She was asked to come to Sacramento but then found that she was clearly mistaken. It was too late. She was drugged and being sold to a sex trafficker.
At some point, three months after her kidnapping, she was in the Oak Park neighborhood when she had the opportunity to escape. She knew it was her one and only opportunity. She was in the captors’ car and she listened to them talking about a crime. She grabbed one of their phones, jumped out of their car, and ran for her life.
Crisostomo found her shortly after her, helping her to make the call to her mother. During this whole time, she was in constant fear that her captors would find out where she had gone. While her mother was trying to talk to her, she was so frantic that mom simply didn’t know what was going on.
Crisostomo took the phone and talked to Crystal’s mother. He assured the woman that he would look after her daughter and make sure that she got the help that she needed. Crystal waited in the postal truck until sheriff deputies were able to make it to the scene.
According to Deputy Latoya Buford, the area where Crystal was found is a notoriously high crime area. There have been countless reports of gangs, drugs, and prostitution. As such, it was good that the postal worker stayed by her side – not only to prevent her from being snatched up by her captors but to keep her safe from any other crimes that could have happened in the neighborhood.
Deputy David Cuneo recognizes Ivan Crisostomo as a hero. He stepped up to the plate when a lot of people simply wouldn’t have known what to do. Many people would have kept on driving instead of stopping to find out what was going on. It was Crisostomo’s ability to realize that something was truly wrong that likely saved Crystal’s life so that she didn’t have to face the world of sex trafficking a moment longer.
Thanks to what Crisostomo did, Crystal Allen now has a positive future ahead of her. Crisostomo simply says that he is “really happy” that he was around to help her in her time of need.
Each and every year, there are reports of sex trafficking victims. Many teenage females are kidnapped and sold into sex trafficking – and Los Angeles seems to be a city with a significant problem. Hundreds of teenage girls go missing every year and are assumed to be involved in a sex trafficking scandal. While there is an LA County Regional Task Force to end sex trafficking, it continues to be a problem.
There is even a Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, complete with a hotline. Anyone who suspects that a youth is a victim of labor or sex trafficking, they’re urged to call in order to report what’s happening. It’s a good thing that Crisostomo was there for Crystal. There is the hope that her experiences can help to take down her captors as a way of saving even more girls from a horrible fate within the world of sex trafficking.