An American woman is in custody in the Philippines after she allegedly tried to fly out of the country with a baby in her hand luggage, local authorities said.
Philippines Bureau of Immigration (BI) spokesman Melvin Mabulac said they received a report around 6:20 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 4.
The Philippines BI was informed that the woman, 43, who they named as Jennifer Talbot had been caught with a child in her bag at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.
Authorities have indicated that the baby appeared to be Filipino, and did not belong to Talbot. CNN Philippines said the baby was just six days old.
According to Mabulac, the woman appeared to be traveling alone and only presented her personal passport. But when staff inspected an oversized carry-on suitcase, they found the child inside.
“She did not have any travel documents for the infant,” the spokesman said.
The woman had claimed to be the child’s aunt, but had not provided any evidence that they were related, CNN Philippines reported.
Facing Child Trafficking Charges
According to authorities, Talbot faces several charges including child trafficking.
The case is being referred to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which is also charged with finding the baby’s identity and his tracing its parents.
According to Rappler, one of the first news outlets to report the arrest, an NBI spokesperson said that the baby had been handed over to social services.
MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal told the news outlet he has ordered his security team “to establish the circumstances surrounding the alleged attempt of a female passenger to sneak out of the country a six-day-old male infant whom she reportedly kept inside a bag she was carrying,” the MIAA said.
“The MIAA cannot issue any further statement at this time until the ongoing investigation is over,” he added.
In 2016, the crew on a flight to Paris found a toddler in a passenger’s carry-on luggage after they were tipped off by another passenger who saw the bag wriggling.
Epoch Times reporter Simon Veazey contributed to this report.