CNN Mischaracterizes Sen. Britt’s Comments to Get Trafficking Victim to Say They’re False

Craig Bannister | March 13, 2024
DONATE
Text Audio
00:00 00:00
Font Size

In coverage of Thursday’s Republican response to Pres. Biden’s State of the Union Address by Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.), CNN mischaracterized Sen. Britt’s comments about Biden’s border policies in order to claim Britt “got many of her facts wrong.”

At issue are the following comments by Sen. Britt in her rebuttal:

“We know that President Biden did not just create this border crisis. He invited it, with 94 executive actions in his first 100 days. When I took office, I took a different approach.

“I traveled to the Del Rio sector of Texas. That is where I spoke to a woman who shared her story with me. She had been sex trafficked by the cartels starting at the age of 12. She told me, not just that she was raped every day, but how many times a day she was raped. The cartels put her on a mattress, in a shoebox of a room, and they sent men through that door over and over again for hours and hours on end.

“We would not be okay with this happening in a third-world country. 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.”

Britt was referring to a January 2023 roundtable discussion, during which she and other senators spoke with Karla Jacinto, a victim of human sex trafficking, about trafficking and cartel activity.

In a report on Britt’s State of the Union response, CNN's Rafael Romo aired edited clips from an interview he conducted with Jacinto, in which she reacted to the senator publicly alluding to the horrors she experienced when she was 12.

“Karla Jacinto also told me that Senator Britt got many of the facts of her story wrong,” Romo claimed.

But, what Jacinto was actually refuting was Romo’s interpretation of what the senator said - not her actual comments.

CNN’s Romo: “Karla Jacinto also told me that Senator Britt got many of the facts of her story wrong.

“First of all, Jacinto says that, one, she was not trafficked by Mexican drug cartels, but by a pimp that operated as part of a family that entrapped vulnerable girls, in order to force them into prostitution.”

Sen. Britt actually said “cartels,” not “drug cartels”:

“I traveled to the Del Rio sector of Texas. That is where I spoke to a woman who shared her story with me.

“She had been sex trafficked by the cartels, starting at the age of 12. She told me, not just that she was raped every day, but how many times a day she was raped.”

CNN’s Romo: “Two, she also said that she was never trafficked in the United States, as Senator Britt appeared to suggest.”

What Britt actually suggested was that, since the United States wouldn’t approve of sex trafficking in another country, it shouldn’t tolerate or invite it under Pres. Biden’s open-borders policies:

“We would not be okay with this happening in a third-world country. 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.”

CNN’s Romo: “Three, she was kept in captivity from 2004 to 2008, when president George W. Bush, a Republican, was in office, as opposed to the current administration as the senator implied.”

Sen. Britt’s comments were bookended by indictments of Biden’s border policies and, thus, intended to serve as a warning of what could happen in the future, if they continued. She was clearly describing a story told to her by a “woman” recalling an event from her childhood (“at the age of 12”), not a recent event:

“I spoke to a woman who shared her story with me. She had been sex trafficked by the cartels starting at the age of 12.”

In a subsequent statement to CNN, a spokesman for the senator confirmed that Britt had been addressing policies in general, not something that happened during the Biden Administration:

“‘The Biden Administration’s policies — the policies in this country that the President falsely claims are humane — have empowered the cartels and acted as a magnet to a historic level of migrants making the dangerous journey to our border. Along that journey, children, women, and men are being subjected to gut-wrenching, heartbreaking horrors in our own backyard,’ spokesperson Sean Ross said.”

CNN’s Romo: “And four, she met the senator at an event at the border with other government officials and anti-human trafficking activists, instead of one-on-one.”

Sen. Britt did speak with, and hear from, Jacinto at the roundtable, along with the other senators present. Britt did not say she had an exclusive, one-on-one interview:

“I traveled to the Del Rio sector of Texas. That is where I spoke to a woman who shared her story with me. She had been sex trafficked by the cartels starting at the age of 12. She told me, not just that she was raped every day, but how many times a day she was raped.”

A fuller video of Romo’s interview, aired by NBC Next9 News, shows that the CNN correspondent got Jacinto to disagree with Britt by misrepresenting what the senator said, instead of actually quoting her:

Romo: “The senator made it sound like you had been made a victim of human trafficking recently, during the administration of the current president of the United States, Joe Biden.

“Is that the case?”

Jacinto: “Not at all. I was a victim, it seems to me, starting in 2004. I arrived in Mexico City in 2008, when I was already a survivor.”

Romo: “Were you ever trafficked in the United States?” (No reference to Sen. Britt.)

Jacinto: “Not at all. No. I was a victim here in Mexico.”

However, as video of the 2023 roundtable shows, Jacinto did say that “Human trafficking is not exclusive to Mexico. I was this close to being trafficked here in the United States at 14 years of age.”

On Sunday, in an interview with Fox New Channel’s Shannon Bream, Sen. Britt personally refuted CNN’s claims, noting that her remarks had been about something that happened well in the past, in the context of Pres. Biden’s current, dangerous border policies.

Liberal media are distorting her comments and attacking her, in order to distract Americans from the real issue – the horrific tragedy allowed and invited by a lack of border security – Sen. Britt said told Bream:

Host Shannon Bream: “But you've had a lot of critics out there. And I want to talk about specifically one anecdote that I've heard you tell before. It is a horrific story of a sex trafficking survivor. Nobody is questioning that the story happened, that she is actually who she is, says she is and -- and that this happened. The question is about the timing and the implication of you telling the story.

"The New York Times has this: ‘None of this happened during President Biden's administration. But, that didn't stop the first term Senator from strongly implying that the President could have somehow prevented it from happening, using rhetoric that seems calibrated to inflame public fears about immigration.’

“Did you mean to give the impression that this horrible story happened on President Biden's watch?”

Sen. Britt: “No, Shannon. Look, I very specifically said, this is what President Biden did during his first 100 days. Minutes after coming into office, he stopped all deportations. He halted construction of the border wall, and he said ‘I am going to give amnesty to millions.’ Those types of things act as a magnet to have more and more people here.

“I then said, in his first 100 days, he had 94 executive actions and those executive actions didn't just create the crisis, they invited it. I then contrasted it with my first 100 days.

“Shannon, I went to the border three times in my first 100 days in office, and when I was there, I asked for the real unvarnished truth. I wanted to sit down. I asked the border patrol agents. I asked the people there. I asked the victims, previous victims of drug cartels: tell me what it's like, tell me what we need to do, tell me what we need to know.”

“The truth is -- and the media knows this, yet they're not covering it, that human trafficking has gone up under President Biden. If you look back under 2018, it was a $500 million industry, human trafficking by the drug cartels. It is now a $13 billion industry. Shannon, under -- the drug cartels are winning under this. This is a story of what is happening now at an astronomical rate. And we have to bring attention to it. We have 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. And, then, there are victims all throughout our country.

“And to me, it is disgusting to try to silence the voice of telling the story of what it is like to be sex trafficked when we know that that is one of the things that the drug cartels are profiting most off of.”

Shannon Bream: “OK. But – but, to be clear, the story that you relate is not something that's happened under the Biden administration, that particular person?”

Sen. Britt: “I'm -- well, I very -- 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, a woman when she was trafficked when she was 12.

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

donate