An American woman has been charged with human trafficking after allegedly trying to smuggle a six-day-old baby out of the Philippines.
At a press conference by the Philippines National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Thursday, International Airport Investigation Division chief Manuel Dimaano said the 43-year-old US woman had used a sling bag to allegedly hide the baby while passing through immigration, and did not provide any documentation for the child.
Dimaano said that after immigration, the woman allegedly removed the baby from the bag and was carrying it when she tried to board her Delta Airlines flight at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Philippines authorities were contacted when the woman couldn’t provide documentation for the child when asked by Delta Airlines crew at the boarding gate.
“She has been charged with a violation of the Anti-trafficking in Persons Act of 2003,” NBI spokesperson Auralyn Pascual said.
“The child’s situation must have been very difficult during the time that he was put inside that bag.”
Dimaano said the mother had been contacted by authorities and would be charged. Police have not been able to find the child’s father, he added.
The Philippines Bureau of Immigration first announced on Wednesday that it had detained the woman. CNN Philippines reported that when discovered, she claimed to be the child’s aunt.
The NBI said the woman allegedly carried the baby from Davao to Manila, before attempting to fly out of the country. She allegedly told authorities that the baby’s mother was an unmarried single parent, but gave no information on whether the child had been given or sold.
Investigations into the case are ongoing.