Airport Staff 'Force Woman To Prove' She Is Lactating

Illustration by Abbie Winters
Many frustrating stories have been originating from airports over the past week.

This latest story, though, comes not from the US where Donald Trump's #immigrationban has sparked worldwide protests, but from Frankfurt airport where Singaporean Gayathiri Bose claims she was asked to squeeze her own breast to prove that she was lactating, after security officials questioned her need for the breast pump they found in her luggage.

For the record, Gayathiri has two children, a three-year-old and a seven-month-old, neither of whom were with her. Gayathiri was travelling alone and was in Frankfurt waiting to board a plane to Paris.

The incident happened last Thursday as she was stopped at security when the X-ray machine picked up her breast pump in her luggage.

"They had an incredulous tone," she told the BBC. "'You are breastfeeding? Then where is your baby? Your baby is in Singapore?'"

Gayathiri then reports that her passport was taken and she was led to a room for questioning. Once in the room, she says the female officer asked her to prove that she was lactating.

"She asked me to open up my blouse and show her my breast. She then asked how come I didn't have anything attached to my breast."

Gayathiri says she tried to explain that to use a breast pump isn't to have something permanently attached to one's body but the officer wasn't satisfied and asked her to hand-express some milk.

Gayathiri said she did as she was told. "I was just in shock, I was going through the motions. I was all by myself as well, and wasn't sure what would happen to me if they decided to make trouble for me."

After she left the room, Gayathiri said she started to understand what had happened and began to cry. Her passport was returned and she was allowed to continue on to catch her flight.

She says the incident lasted 45 minutes. She is now considering legal action.

Frankfurt airport for their part confirmed that Ms Bose had been stopped and her breast pump checked as a potential explosive but denied that she had been asked to hand-lactate.
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