Katie Britt defends sex trafficking story she misrepresented during SOTU rebuttal

Alabama senator said did not intend to make the story seem like it happened recently, but stopped short of apologising

Ariana Baio
Monday 11 March 2024 09:19 GMT
Katie Britt defends sex trafficking story she mentioned in SOTU rebuttal

Katie Britt, the freshman Alabama Senator whose State of the Union rebuttal was widely ridiculed this week, is defending accusations that she misrepresented a story about a human trafficking survivor in order to amplify fears and critiques of President Joe Biden’s border policies.

Over the weekend, Ms Britt faced backlash after a journalist revealed that a story she told of a human trafficking survivor happened more than 15 years ago in Mexico and not recently in the US, as Ms Britt had implied.

But on Sunday, Ms Britt told Shannon Bream on Fox News Sunday that she did not intend to make it seem that this happened recently and “clearly” stated in her rebuttal speech that she spoke with someone who was trafficked as a child.

Joe Biden during the 2024 State of the Union (Getty Images)

The Alabama senator said that her language should have indicated to audiences that the story took place many years ago because she was trafficked when she was 12 years old and now she is a woman.

“I very clearly said, ‘I spoke to a woman who told me about when she was trafficked when she was 12.’ So I didn’t say a teenager, I didn’t say a young woman. A grown woman,” Ms Britt said.

During her rebuttal, Ms Britt recounted graphic details of the survivor’s experience before saying, “We wouldn’t be OK with this happening in a third-world country. This is the United States of America, and it’s past time we start acting like it. President Biden’s border crisis is a disgrace.”

Ms Britt did not name the survivor but a spokesperson for her office told The Washington Post she was referring to Karla Jacinto, a human trafficking victims’ rights advocate who testified to Congress in 2015 in support of International Megan’s Law.

At the time, Ms Jacinto testified that she was trafficked in Mexico beginning at the age of 12 (around 2004) after her mother threw her out of the house. She was recused in 2008 at the age of 16.

However, Ms Britt omitted details about where and when this happened from her rebuttal, leading some to believe it could be tied to the current border crisis.

The Independent reached out to Ms Britt’s office on Saturday and did not get a response.

Katie Britt, the Alabama Senator, joined Fox News Sunday to defend herself against criticisms of her SOTU rebuttal (Fox News Sunday / Fox News)

However, Ms Britt did not apologise for causing any confusion and instead lashed out at the media for not covering Ms Jacinto’s story to raise awareness about human trafficking.

If you are a child and you need help because something has happened to you, you can call the NSPCC free of charge on 0800 1111. You can also call the NSPCC if you are an adult and you are worried about a child, on 0808 800 5000. The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac) offers support for adults on 0808 801 0331

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