A woman of Indian origin has lodged a complaint with the German police, alleging that she was forced to squeeze her breast to prove she was lactating at the Frankfurt airport security check. Gayathiri Bose told BBC that authorities were suspicious because she was carrying a breast pump with her while she was not travelling with a baby.
Bose, a 33-year-old Singaporean, said she was taken aside for questioning after her carry-on bag went through the X-ray machine. After authorities refused to believe that the machine was a breast pump, her passport was seized and she was led to a room by a female police officer.
“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, if I was lactating and expressing breastmilk. I said, there is no such thing that is [permanently] attached, we usually place the pump to our nipple and the machine does the job. She wanted me to show her by hand-expressing a little,” said Bose, who has a three-year-old child and a seven-month-old baby.
She described the 45-minute long episode as humiliating and traumatising. “While I do respect the need to do security checks on items that may seem suspicious, to outrage a person’s modesty is definitely crossing the line,” she said, adding that she was looking into taking legal action against the Frankfurt airport security personnel.
Bose was allowed to board her flight to Paris after officials tested and cleared the breast pump. The incident took place last Thursday.
A spokesperson for the Frankfurt airport police denied that Bose had been “asked to prove her ability to breastfeed”. “The federal police has been aware of the allegation since Friday. The investigation revealed that a necessary follow-up was carried out by the policewoman, who is a mother of two children herself,” read a police statement emailed to the BBC.