AN AMERICAN woman has been arrested in the Philippines for attempting to traffic a newborn baby out of the country.
42-year-old Jennifer Talbot had concealed the six-day-old baby boy in a sling bag around her waist as she attempted to board a flight in the city of Manila. The flight was due to fly back to the US, a journey which could take up to 15 hours non-stop.
The woman, who was acting "quite fidgety" was stopped when the baby was discovered in the oversized bag. She was arrested when it was realised that she had no documents for the child, including any passport.
She claimed at first to be the baby’s aunt, and when this was proved to be false Talbot claimed she would not answer any questions without first speaking to a representative of the US embassy.
There is an investigation underway as to how the US woman had been able to board an earlier flight from Davao to Manila with the baby, according to Al Jazeera.
A spokesperson for the Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation held a press conference regarding the woman’s arrest for attempted trafficking.
Auralyn Pascual of the NBI told reporters:
“She has been charged with a violation of the Anti-trafficking in Persons Act of 2003”
“The child's situation must have been very difficult during the time that he was put inside that bag,”.
The child’s birth mother has been located in the South Philippines and she too has been arrested.
It is likely that the attempted trafficking was an illegal attempt of adoption. The US woman is alleged to have said that the baby’s mother was an unmarried single parent, but it is so far unclear whether there was any transfer of money for the baby boy.