Sen. Katie Britt Defends Using Human Trafficking Story In Her SOTU Rebuttal

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On Sunday, Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) upheld her misleading claim that pinned the blame on President Joe Biden’s border policies for a harrowing anecdote about a survivor of sex trafficking.

During her State of the Union rebuttal, Britt appeared to inaccurately tie Biden’s administration with a woman who was sex trafficked at a young age. The congresswoman’s office confirmed to The Washington Post on Saturday that she was referring to Karla Jacinto Romero, an activist who publicly shared her experience of being sex trafficked to raise awareness about the dangers it poses.

Romero’s experience occurred in Mexico — not the U.S. — and took place during President George W. Bush’s administration. She shared her story at a congressional hearing in 2015.

“We wouldn’t be OK with this happening in a third-world country,” Britt said as she brought up Romero’s story during her rebuttal. “This is the United States of America, and it is past time, in my opinion, that we start acting like it. President Biden’s border policies are a disgrace. This crisis is despicable.”

“Did you mean to give the impression that this horrible story happened on President Biden’s watch?” “Fox News Sunday” host Shannon Bream asked the congresswoman about her retelling of the survivor’s story.

Initially, Britt did not respond directly to the question. Instead, she discussed Biden’s first 100 days in office, his decision to stop building the border wall, and his attempt to temporarily stop mass deportations before going on to say that human trafficking has gone up during Biden’s presidency.

“We need to tell those stories, and the liberal media needs to pay attention to it, because there are victims all the way coming to the border, there are victims at the border, then there are victims all throughout our country,” Britt said. “To me, it’s disgusting to try to silence the voice of telling the story of what it is like to be sex trafficked when we know that is one of the things the drug cartels are profiting most off of.”

Bream pressed back, saying, “OK. But, to be clear, the story that you relate is not something that’s happened under the Biden administration, that particular person?”

“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,” Britt replied. “I didn’t say a young woman — a grown woman, a woman when she was trafficked when she was 12.”

“And so listening to her story, she is a victims’ rights advocate who is telling this is what drug cartels are doing, this is how they’re profiting off of women, and it is disgusting,” Britt continued. “And so I am hopeful that it brings some light to it, and we can actually do something about human trafficking, and that that’s what the media actually decides to cover.”

The White House responded to Britt’s rebuttal on Sunday, accusing her of sharing “debunked lies.”

“Instead of telling more debunked lies to justify opposing the toughest bipartisan border legislation in modern history, Senator Britt should stop choosing human smugglers and fentanyl traffickers over our national security and the Border Patrol Union,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement. “Like President Biden said in his State of the Union, ‘We have a simple choice: We can fight about fixing the border or we can fix it.’”

Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.

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