U.S. NEWS

Phoenix Police Dispute Cindy McCain’s Claim That She Thwarted Human Trafficking Attempt

John McCain's widow said she witnessed a woman trafficking a child "of a different ethnicity" at the Phoenix airport. She later apologized for the mistake.

Police in Phoenix have disputed Cindy McCain’s claim that she thwarted a human trafficking attempt at Sky Harbor International Airport.

McCain, widow of the late Republican Sen. John McCain and an anti-trafficking activist, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday that she witnessed a child being trafficked at the Phoenix airport last week.

“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,” McCain said in the interview. “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.”

The woman, McCain added, was “waiting for the guy who bought the child to get off an airplane.”

Phoenix police refuted McCain’s allegation on Wednesday. Sgt. Armando Carbajal told KTAR that officers had conducted a welfare check on a child at the airport at McCain’s request but had found “no evidence of criminal conduct or child endangerment.”

McCain, who is co-chair of the governor’s Arizona Human Trafficking Council and the McCain Institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council, later took to Twitter to apologize for the incident. 

“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,’” she wrote.

There are millions of victims of human trafficking worldwide, according to Polaris Project, an anti-trafficking nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. 

In the U.S., the number of victims is estimated in the hundreds of thousands ― a number Polaris data suggest is on the rise.

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