Sen. Katie Britt has told her misleading anecdote about sex trafficking multiple times

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WASHINGTON — Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala., has come nether fire successful caller days complete allegations that she misrepresented nan communicative of a activity trafficking unfortunate successful nan Republican consequence to nan State of nan Union past week.

An NBC News reappraisal of her remarks complete nan past twelvemonth shows it’s an anecdote she’s utilized often to knock nan Biden administration’s separator policies, though nan unfortunate she references was trafficked done Mexico astir 2 decades ago.

During her response to nan State of nan Union, nan freshman legislator said astir her sojourn to nan U.S.-Mexico separator successful 2023 and told a schematic communicative involving rape and activity trafficking to knock President Joe Biden’s separator policies.

“When I first took office, I did thing different. I traveled to nan Del Rio assemblage of Texas, wherever I said to a female who shared her communicative pinch me. She had been activity trafficked by nan cartel astatine nan property of 12. She told maine not that she was raped each day, but really galore times a time she was raped,” Britt said during her reside connected Thursday.

“We wouldn’t beryllium good pinch this happening successful a Third World country. This is nan United States of America, and it is past time, successful my opinion, that we commencement acting for illustration it,” she added.

It was later reported by an independent journalist that nan female successful Britt’s reside was Karla Jacinto Romero and that she was trafficked successful Mexico, not nan United States, erstwhile Republican George W. Bush was president. Jacinto Romero testified earlier Congress successful 2015, telling members she was trafficked by a pimp, not by Mexican supplier cartels, arsenic Britt suggested. 

NBC News has recovered that anterior to nan State of nan Union response, nan inferior Alabama legislator had referenced Jacinto Romero’s communicative astatine slightest 5 abstracted times complete nan past twelvemonth successful property conferences and cablegram news interviews to knock nan Biden Administration for its separator policies, implying that Jacinto Romero’s trafficking and rape occurred nether nan Biden Administration.

“As a mom, to beryllium crossed from a young female who told maine it wasn’t that she was raped each day, it was really galore times a time she was raped astatine nan hands of nan supplier cartels,” Britt said during a property convention connected nan Biden management lifting nan Title 42 migration argumentation connected May 11, 2023.

“I person talked to these young women, and it wasn’t that they were raped each day, it was really galore times a time they were raped,” Britt said astatine a property convention connected quality trafficking astatine nan separator connected July 20, 2023.

During different property convention connected September 20, 2023, regarding Biden’s “Border Catastrophe,” Britt again referenced Jacinto Romero’s relationship of rape.

“I person talked to women who person not conscionable told maine that they were raped, but they’ve told maine really galore times a time they were raped astatine nan hands of nan supplier cartels,” she said.

Although Britt has ne'er named Jacinto Romero successful nan aggregate times she referred to her story, a spokesperson for her agency confirmed to The Washington Post that nan female cited successful her State of nan Union consequence reside was Jacinto Romero.

Asked by NBC News astir her repeated re-tellings of nan communicative successful relationship to Biden’s migration policies, Britt issued a connection targeting nan media.

“It’s past clip for nan media to extremity covering for Joe Biden’s re-election run and commencement talking astir nan immense, very existent quality suffering that’s occurring correct now nether his policies,” she said.

“The cartels are making record-shattering profits from quality trafficking. Historic numbers of migrants are dying astatine nan border. And betwixt sadistic murders and fentanyl poisonings, acold excessively galore Americans are being killed. That’s nan communicative nan media doesn’t want to tell,” she added.

NBC News has reached retired to Jacinto Romero for remark but did not instantly person a response. Speaking to CNN, Jacinto Romero said she felt that Britt told an inaccurate communicative of her experience.

During an question and reply connected Fox News Sunday, Britt did not admit that she misrepresented Jacinto Romero’s experiences, and declined to opportunity why she chose a lawsuit that did not hap nether Biden’s presidency to item what she referred to arsenic nan administration’s grounded separator policies.

“I very, very clearly, said, I said to a female who told maine astir erstwhile she was trafficked erstwhile she was 12. So I didn’t opportunity a teenager. I didn’t opportunity a young woman. A grown woman, a female erstwhile she was trafficked erstwhile she was 12.” she said.

Britt has been outspoken astir her guidance to nan Biden Administration’s separator policies, arguing that nan president’s policies person caused a information and humanitarian situation astatine nan confederate border.

Kate Santaliz

Kate Santaliz is an subordinate shaper for NBC News’ Capitol Hill team.