A startling incident unfolded as a Nicaragua-bound aircraft, carrying more than 300 Indian passengers, was grounded in France on suspicion of human trafficking. The plane, operated by Romanian-based charter company Legend Airlines, was detained following an anonymous tipoff, leading to a rigorous investigation.
According to reports from the Paris prosecutor’s office, special investigators are intensively questioning all individuals aboard, resulting in the custody of two individuals for further examination. The tip received by authorities raised concerns about potential human trafficking victims being transported on the flight.
Human Trafficking Case in France: MEA obtains consular access
The aircraft made a scheduled stop for refueling at Vatry Airport, situated in the heart of Champagne country, east of Paris, where it was detained on Thursday. Despite being primarily used for charter and cargo flights, this small airfield became the unexpected focal point of an unfolding human trafficking investigation.
In response to the situation, the Indian embassy in France promptly addressed the matter, confirming that the French authorities had detained a plane carrying 303 passengers, predominantly of Indian origin, during what was described as a “technical halt.”
The embassy’s statement highlighted their swift action, stating, “Embassy team has reached & obtained consular access. We are investigating the situation, also ensuring wellbeing of passengers.”
Adding to the gravity of the situation, reports from ‘Le Monde’ revealed the involvement of the national anti-organized crime unit, JUNALCO, taking charge of the investigation upon the plane’s landing in France.
Following the grounding of the aircraft, passengers were initially confined to the plane but were later moved to individual beds within the terminal building. The entire airport premises were cordoned off by law enforcement authorities.
As the night unfolded, the Marne regional administration disclosed that passengers were relocated to the main hall of the small Vatry airport, where provisions were made for them to spend the night on Thursday, arranging cots for their comfort and convenience.
The unfolding events at Vatry Airport underscore the serious concerns and ongoing investigation into suspected human trafficking, leaving both authorities and passengers navigating an unexpected and alarming situation.