Human Trafficking Probe Ends: Indians Depart from French Airport to India

A charter plane grounded in France for human trafficking investigation, carrying 276 Indians, was rerouted to India after being blocked at a rural French airport for four days. The regional administration reported that 276 of the original 303 passengers were en route to Mumbai, and 25 others requested asylum in France. Those remaining were transferred to a special zone in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport for asylum-seekers.

The passengers included a 21-month-old child and several unaccompanied minors. The remaining two passengers were initially detained as part of a human trafficking investigation but were released after appearing before a judge. The Legend Airlines A340 plane stopped for refueling in Vatry en route from Fujairah airport in the UAE for Managua, Nicaragua.

French authorities are investigating the origin of a flight involving Indian passengers, who were allegedly trafficked to the US. The original flight was requisitioned by police for days, and the airport was transformed into a makeshift courtroom for emergency hearings. The airport was requisitioned by local officials, medics, and volunteers, who installed cots and provided meals and showers for those held inside. Some lawyers at the hearings protested authorities’ handling of the situation and passengers’ rights, suggesting that police and prosecutors overreacted to the anonymous tip. The prosecutor’s office has not specified whether human trafficking is still suspected.

The Indian Embassy has expressed gratitude to French authorities for allowing Indians to leave France, stating that authorities worked through Christmas Eve and Christmas morning to finalize the process. Foreigners can be held in transit zones for up to four days for police investigations, with a special judge deciding whether to extend it to eight days. Legend Airlines lawyer Liliana Bakayoko said some passengers chose to leave India due to paying for a tourism trip to Nicaragua, which the U.S. government has designated as failing to eliminate human trafficking. Nicaragua has also been used as a migratory route for people fleeing poverty or conflict due to visa-free entry requirements.

AirportFrenchFrench AirportHuman traffickingHuman Trafficking Probe Ends: Indians Depart from French Airport to IndiaIndiaIndians Depart