In a woman’s worst nightmare, 16-year-old Crystal Allen was kidnapped and held captive by sex traffickers. After running away from a group home with a friend, she was given to a Sacramento pimp. The “friend” betrayed her and turned her over to the man, who then kidnapped her and held her against her will.
Under constant surveillance, she had little chance of escape. “They made it impossible,” Crystal said in a statement to KCRA. “They had guard dogs and people that would watch us all the time and not let us leave. I was tied to chairs.”
The next three months were torture that Crystal describes as her “sex slavery hell.” She was regularly drugged, raped, and beaten by her captors, who still remain at large. “I just cried all the time and prayed that I’d get to see my mom again,” she told interviewers.
After months of captivity, she took a chance and was assisted by a brave mailman. On June 8, Crystal escaped her kidnapper’s car and fled, grabbing one of their phones. She ran from the vehicle and hid behind a tall bush, where postal worker Ivan Cristotomo happened upon her. He was completing his route when he spotted the girl, and she begged him for his help.
“I hear this crying, this desperate crying,” Cristotomo said according to Daily Mail. “She started to point to her arm, saying, ‘They were putting things in me. They were putting things in me. They are coming to get me.'”
While many people might have avoided trouble and kept driving, Cristotomo refused to stand by and let the girl come to further harm. The father of four helped Crystal call her mother, and watched over her in his mail truck until deputies arrived.
According to Deputy David Cuneo, this was a rare act of bravery on his part. “What Ivan did was wonderful,” Cuneo told reporters. “He stepped up where a lot of people would’ve just continued driving down the road, and he made a huge positive impact on this young girl’s life.”
Two months after her escape from sex trafficking, Crystal was reunited with the man who assisted her. They shared a tearful hug, and each of them told their side of the story. Crystal is currently receiving therapy in another group home and has also been reunited with her mother. The search for her kidnappers is still underway, and police hope it leads to the rescue of other girls.