An American woman who tried to smuggle a 6-day-old infant onto a plane from the Philippines to Detroit, Michigan, on Wednesday has been arrested and charged with human trafficking, child abuse, kidnapping and illegal detention.
Jennifer Erin Talbot is accused of hiding the baby boy in her carry-on luggage when she passed through Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport immigration counter before being confronted by airline personnel who demanded documents for the infant, Time reported.
“There was really an intention to hide the baby,” Grifton Medina of the National Bureau of Investigation said. “We worked in coordination with US-based airline who helped us apprehend the passenger at the boarding gate.”
“She hid it at check-in and when she passed immigration counters, and then at the other x-ray to the boarding gate, then she showed it. That’s the time we were able to apprehend her, when she passed through the next x-ray,” Medina said, according to NBC.
(1/2) LOOK: Airport security camera caught how Jennifer Erin Talbot, 42-years old of Ohio, USA, concealed a 6-day old Filipino baby boy in her hand carried luggage. | via @raoulesperas pic.twitter.com/AkcyuIMV3U
— DWIZ Newscenter (@dwiz882) September 4, 2019
Officials said Talbot was ultimately bound for Columbus, Ohio. Talbot’s exact address was uncertain. She had documents with a Utah address and documents showed family connections in Ohio.
HIDDEN BABY? American Jennifer Erin Talbot, 43, was arrested at the airport in Manila and is facing human trafficking charges after allegedly attempting to carry a 6-day-old baby hidden in a sling bag out of the Philippines without proper documentation. https://t.co/oEiK3NGXa1 pic.twitter.com/KYGlmnTEDW
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) September 5, 2019
National Bureau Investigation chief Manuel Dimaano said Talbot initially claimed she was the baby’s aunt, the New York Post reported.
Talbot later gave officials an affidavit at the airport that was supposedly from the baby’s 19-year-old mother, identified as Maricris Dulap, consenting to the baby going to the U.S. The document had no signature.
Officials said a human trafficking charge was filed against Talbot because the Philippine government did not approve travel for the infant. If convicted, Talbot could face life in prison.
“We do know there is a trend of people from industrialized countries — including the United States — in pursuit of children as either domestic slaves or servants or sex trafficking, and they do this here because they see this as more marginalized country,” he said.
Charges have also been filed against the parents of the baby, Dimaano said, but they have not been detained.
Officials said Dulap told them she wanted her baby to be adopted, but that they did not believe she sold the baby.
Dulap told investigators she met Talbot online and that the adoption was pre-arranged. Dimaano said Talbot told officials her plans for the baby were to give him “a name and a church blessing.”
The baby is now with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
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