Mothers, beware of women posing as well-meaning persons who want to help you.

Mary Jane Abes, a mother of a 2-week-old baby boy, has complained to a TV station that a certain ‘Jenny’ offered to lend her PhP500 in cash and PhP500 in groceries.

Because she needed money, she agreed to the arrangement.

When she was getting groceries at the Isetann Supermarket in Carriedo, Jenny asked to hold her baby to unburden her.

But when it was time to pay at the counter, Jenny and her baby were gone. They were nowhere to be found.

The incident happened last April 23.

It was found that Isetann Supermarket had a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera and the video footage on that day showed that Abes and Jenny were indeed in the store on that day.

The video was submitted to the police and was shown at primetime news.

The next day, another mother from Bago Bantay in Quezon City, has come forward to say that the same Jenny kidnapped her three-week-old baby.

Jennifer Francisco said the same woman offered to help her with baby Alexander’s needs.

She said Jenny came everyday to her house for three weeks.

And on December 17, 2011, she went with her to the hospital to have Alexander undergo the newborn screening test.

When she went with a nurse to have her blood pressure checked, she let Jenny hold her baby.

But when she came back, the woman and her baby were gone.

Footage from the hospital’s CCTV showed Jennifer with the same woman from the Isetann Supermarket video.

The Philippine National Police has warned that kidnappers are using a new modus operandi, preying on hapless mothers who only want to buy things for their children.

PNP Spokesperson Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. said the kidnappers might be selling the victims to couples who don’t have children.

Well, the crime appears to be larger than simple kidnapping.

Kidnapping requires that the offender simply deprive the latter of his liberty. The perpetrator might also demand a ransom.

But the crimes committed by Jenny appear to be a coordinated act with a criminal syndicate that systematically snatches children for some distinct purpose.

How can you explain the time and money that Jenny must be spending in trying to earn the trust of these mothers? How does she scout victims? She must have some help from other people. And more importantly, where does she bring the babies?

Thus, it is more appropriate to tag Jenny as a child trafficker.

The law says the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered as trafficking.

Meanwhile, any person found guilty of child trafficking shall suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of not less than PhP2 million but not more than PhP5 million.

According to humantrafficking.org, human trafficking remains a significant problem in the country. People are trafficked from rural areas to urban centers including Manila, Cebu, Angeles City, and increasingly to cities in Mindanao, as well as within urban areas.

Children are vulnerable to trafficking. Many have been victims of sex trafficking and child labor. Non-government organizations have said that many family members have sold children to employers for domestic labor or sexual exploitation.

Some children have also been conscripted to join armed groups especially in Mindanao.

While the abducted children are just infants, and you might think they may not be sexually abused by criminals, think again.

Following the 2004 tsunami in Thailand, many Thai children, as young as less than a year-old, were in constant danger of trafficking and prostitution. That’s how low sick people can get.

Perhaps, these mothers can learn from the old saying, “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.”

They can also heed the call, “don’t trust strangers.” You don’t trust strangers around you, then what more with your children.