The North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA) stands in solidarity with Chrystul Kizer, and the Milwaukee community organizing on her behalf. We stand in solidarity with their request that DA Graveley dismiss the charges against Chrystul. While glad to learn of her release from incarceration, Chrystul still bears the burden of punishment for simply surviving her trafficker. Her desire to stay alive has been criminalized by charges that are unjust and harmful. Survivors of child sex trafficking deserve to heal, they deserve to be free of any barriers to their health and well-being. Chrystul does not deserve to be condemned for defending herself. Chrystul has the right to be alive.
Chrystul is a victim of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST). Any time a minor is involved in the sex trade, they are a victim of DMST. There is no such thing as a “child prostitute,” and Chrystul Kizer was the victim of Randall Volar, who was trafficking her for his profit. Due to the racist history of the United States, Black girls have suffered from “adultification” -- being treated as if they are older than they are, physically, emotionally, and sexually. This is one of the main reasons why Black girls are more likely to be judged than offered compassion when they are harmed, and why they are more likely to be criminalized when they need safety. They are criminalized in their schools and communities, preventing them from equal access to safety, compassion, services, and legal remedies.
NCCASA as a statewide coalition uses a social justice framework, therefore, our work is done from a strong intersectional, social justice perspective. By centering our work around marginalized communities, everyone is served. NCCASA has witnessed the unintentional harm done to black and brown girls by the sexual violence and anti-human trafficking movement when we do not center the needs of Chrystul and other Black girls like her. We have seen sensationalized tropes that stoke racialized fears. We have noticed the focus on the ways in which human trafficking “can happen to anyone” (read: those with privilege, who do not live under the same daily adultification as Black girls). In the movement’s rush to apply criminal justice remedies, we have forgotten the ways in which traffickers often force their victims into criminalized activities as part of their trafficking. We have forgotten the ways in which survivors of trafficking, seeing no way out and deprived of supports and empathy, often resort to self-defensive tactics in order to protect or free themselves. We acknowledge that history, and work to reduce its impact in our own work around human trafficking. We are committed to creating a legacy of anti-trafficking work that is just and equitable, that centers survivor empowerment and autonomy, and that is committed to uplifting and protecting girls like Chrystul -- girls who have been systematically marginalized from other forms of safety and recourse.
It is essential that we do not criminalize victims for their survival, especially given racial disparities in the experience of violence, in access to safety and services, and in the criminal justice system itself.
As the national dialogue around race uncovers and uplifts examples like Chrystul’s, it is important that we not let the apparent repetition of these stories numb us to complacency. Instead, let them rouse us to action. For Chrystul, this action can include:
- We ask District Attorney Graveley to drop all charges against Chrystul Kizer.
- If District Attorney Graveley chooses to move forward with these unfair charges against a victim who freed herself, we ask that she be offered “safe harbor,” and that her status as the victim of Randall Volar’s heinous acts be considered in her case.
- We ask for restitution to be paid to Volar’s victims. Chrystul’s actions and the ensuing investigation have revealed that Randall Volar had numerous other victims, some as young as 11 years old. We ask that Volar’s other victims be offered emotional, medical, and other needed support, and that this support be funded through the assets that Volar left behind after his death.
- We invite you to sign Chrystul’s petition at: https://www.change.org/p/drop-all-charges-against-incarcerated-trafficking-survivor-chrystul-kizer
- Please send letters Chrystul in care of Black and Pink: Milwaukee and they will deliver them to Chrystul at her new location:
Black and Pink: Milwaukee
PO Box 12244
Milwaukee, WI 53212
- We invite advocates, activists, and organizations involved in anti-violence work to continue in critical self-reflection on the how race impacts our frameworks and response, and to intentionally reduce our perpetuation of harmful racialized narratives as well as our reliance on unjust systems.