Cindy McCain Said She Stopped an Attempted Human Trafficking. She Did Not.

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Getty ImagesChristian Petersen

Cindy McCain, widow to the late Senator John McCain, has been an advocate for anti-human trafficking since 2004, when she took a humanitarian trip to Calcutta. Since then, she’s written op-eds on the subject, testified before Congress, and works for the Governor of Arizona’s Task Force on Human Trafficking. But this week, McCain claimed to have personally stopped an incidence of human trafficking, a fact that police are now refuting.

On Monday, McCain told KTAR News 92.3 FM that she was recently at Sky Harbor International Airport when she saw something that, she says, didn’t feel right. “I came in from a trip I’d been on and I spotted—it looked odd—it was a woman of a different ethnicity than the child, this little toddler she had, and something didn’t click with me,” she said. “I went over to the police and told them what I saw and they went over and questioned her and, by God, she was trafficking that kid.”

McCain told the radio station that she later found out the woman was waiting for a man who bought the child to fly in. But on Wednesday, Phoenix Police told KTAR that McCain’s claims are false. Phoenix Police Sgt. Armando Carbajal said a welfare check was conducted and “officers determined there was no evidence of criminal conduct or child endangerment.”

That same day, McCain responded on Twitter, writing, “At Phoenix Sky Harbor, I reported an incident that I thought was trafficking. I commend the police officers for their diligence. I apologize if anything else I have said on this matter distracts from ‘if you see something, say something.'”

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