Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala.,, speaks during a news conference on...

Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala.,, speaks during a news conference on the border, Feb. 15, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Britt gave the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address Thursday, March 7, 2024. Credit: AP/Mariam Zuhaib

The Republican senator who gave the party’s response to President Joe Biden's State of the Union address used a harrowing account of a young woman's sexual abuse to attack his border policies, but the rapes did not happen in the U.S. or during the Biden administration.

First-term Sen. Katie Britt of Alabama in the GOP response criticized current immigration policies, describing how she had met a woman at the U.S.-Mexico border who told of being raped thousands of times in a sex trafficking operation run by cartels, starting at age 12.

The victim has previously spoken publicly about the abuse happening in her home country of Mexico from 2004 to 2008 — not in the United States during the Biden administration. Yet, Britt used the account to chastise Biden's action on the border.

“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," Britt said in the Thursday night speech televised from her home in Alabama. “President Biden’s border crisis is a disgrace."

Britt has made immigration one of her top issues in her first years in the Senate, and Republicans have seized on a surge of immigrants entering the country during Biden's term to attack the president. Former President Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination this year, blames Biden for the killing of a Georgia nursing student after an immigrant from Venezuela who entered the U.S. illegally was arrested and charged with her murder.

Independent journalist Jonathan Katz revealed in a TikTok video Friday that the sex trafficking of the victim mentioned by Britt on Thursday did not happen during the Biden administration or in the United States.

Britt spokesman Sean Ross on Saturday confirmed to The Associated Press that the senator was speaking about the account of a young Mexican woman who told of being repeatedly raped in Mexico from 2004 to 2008 — when Republican George W. Bush was the U.S. president.

Ross said people are still victims of “disgusting, brutal trafficking by the cartels.”

Asked by Fox News Sunday if she had meant to give the impression that the trafficking and rape in question happened during the Biden administration, Britt said “No." She said she had recounted the victim's story to “bring some light to” sex trafficking by cartels.

Britt traveled to the border at the Del Rio Sector in Texas in January 2023 with fellow Republican Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, according to a news release issued then from Hyde-Smith's office.

“The Senators held a roundtable with former Mexican Congresswoman Rosa María de la Garza, Fox News Contributor Sara Carter and Karla Jacinto Romero, a survivor of human trafficking,” the news release said. “The Senators learned about cartel activity in Mexico and the work being done to rescue victims of human trafficking.”

Romero — an advocate against human trafficking — has spoken publicly about being a victim of child prostitution in Mexico, including during 2015 testimony to a subcommittee of the U.S. House. Romero, then 22, told the subcommittee that she was 12 when her mother threw her out on the streets, and a pimp trafficked her to more than 40,000 clients over four years. Romero said many of the clients were foreigners who had traveled to Mexico for sexual interactions with minors like her.

Britt's rebuttal, delivered from her own kitchen table, laid out a dark vision for the country under Democrats and warned of violence. She talked about her two children and warned that “life is getting more and more dangerous." She also called Biden a “dithering and diminished leader.”

The Alabama senator, 42 and the youngest woman in the Senate, has said she wants to represent a new generation of leadership in Washington. She was endorsed by Trump in her 2022 election and has remained in touch with the former president, most recently pushing him to support in vitro fertilization after a ruling by her state's supreme court blocked some IVF procedures.

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