CAIRO, March 24 (UPI) -- Two women accused of trafficking children in Egypt say they were trying to provide three orphans with better lives.
Suzanne Hagelof, Iris Botros and their husbands have been charged along with two doctors and a nun in an alleged conspiracy to adopt children and smuggle them out of Egypt, where adoption is illegal, CNN reported Tuesday.
Hagelof, a U.S. citizen who lives in Egypt, had adopted a child last year and Botros, who is from North Carolina, was in the process of adopting twins, CNN reported.
The seven were arrested after Hagelof and Botros allegedly tried to secure U.S. visas for the children using forged birth certificates that said the women were the children's birth mothers, said prosecutors.
The doctors allegedly signed the birth certificates and the nun headed an orphanage run by the Christian Coptic Church, reported CNN, noting the three infants were taken into protective custody after the arrests.
If convicted, Hagelof, Botros and the others each face up to 10 years in prison.