A female US national has been charged with human trafficking and kidnapping after she was caught at the international airport in the Philippine capital of Manila with a six-day-old baby hidden inside a bag.
Jennifer Talbot, 43, allegedly attempted to bring the infant out of the country without proper travel documents, hiding the baby inside an “oversized belt bag” as she went past airport security, authorities said on Thursday.
Talbot, who is said to be from the US state of Ohio, was about to board a flight back to the United States on Wednesday when she was stopped for failing to show proper documents, including a passport for the baby.
When interrogated by airport authorities, Talbot reportedly claimed that she was the child’s aunt.
She also reportedly showed an unsigned document identifying the baby’s mother, and stating the unnamed child’s birth date of August 29.
She asked airport authorities if she could speak first to representatives of the US Embassy before answering more questions.
A spokesman of the National Bureau of Investigation, which handles high-profile cases in the Philippines, told reporters during a news conference in Manila that Talbot was charged on Thursday with violating the country’s anti-trafficking law.
“The child’s situation must have been very difficult during the time that he was put inside that bag,” Auralyn Pascual was quoted as saying.
Pascual added that airport security became suspicious when Talbot appeared “a little fidgety”.
Authorities said they will also charge the baby’s mother, who is from southern Philippine city of Davao.
It was unclear to authorities why Talbot had been able to board a domestic flight from Davao to Manila with the baby without having proper documents.
Immigration officials told reporters that the baby is safe and under the care of the government’s social welfare office.