An American woman who attempted to carry a 6-day-old baby out of the Philippines hidden inside a sling bag has been arrested at Manila's airport and charged with human trafficking, officials said Thursday. They said Jennifer Erin Talbot was able to pass through the airport immigration counter Wednesday but was intercepted at the boarding gate by airline personnel. Talbot was unable to produce any passport, boarding pass or government permits for the baby, airport officials said. Public records indicate she has been living in Utah, the AP reports, though officials said she's from Ohio. Presented to reporters Thursday in Manila, Talbot, 43, kept her head down and wiped her tears. When reporters asked her to comment, Talbot shook her head. She had planned to board a Delta Air Lines flight to the US with the baby, airport officials said. "There was really an intention to hide the baby," immigration official Grifton Medina said by telephone.
Talbot was handed over to the National Bureau of Investigation, and the baby was turned over to welfare personnel. The NBI said Talbot presented an affidavit, allegedly from the baby's mother, identified as Maricris Dulap, giving consent for the baby to travel to the US, but it had not been signed by the mother. Officials said no government travel approval had been issued for the baby, prompting the human trafficking charges, which carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. US Embassy officials told Philippine authorities that Talbot has no criminal record in the US, NBI official Manuel Dimaano said. Dulap gave her baby to Talbot in southern Davao city, Dimaano said. The baby's parents have been charged under a child protection law but have not been arrested, though the mother has been interviewed by social welfare officers, Dimaano said. He said Dulap told officers that she wanted to offer her baby for adoption, and there was no indication that she had sold the baby. Dimaano said when officials asked Talbot what she intended to do with the baby, she replied that she just wanted to give it "a name and a church blessing."
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