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Plane Grounded in France Departs for India after Ordeal

A charter plane suspected of human trafficking took off from France bound for India.

A charter plane under investigation for potential human trafficking departed France for India, ending a challenging four-day ordeal for around 300 Indians en route to Central America. 

The unmarked Legend Airlines A340 finally took off from Vatry Airport in Champagne country, carrying the crew and approximately 200 passengers.

Complex Passenger Composition:

Among the passengers were a 21-month-old child and 11 unaccompanied minors receiving special administrative care. Some individuals sought asylum in France, while two passengers faced detention and potential charges, appearing before a judge on Monday.

While authorities remained tight-lipped about the passengers’ intended destination, speculation arose regarding a possible route to the US, given the increased influx of Indians crossing the Mexico-US border this year.

Legal Proceedings and Departure Approval:

Airport requisition by police, makeshift courtrooms, and emergency hearings characterized the situation. French authorities, working through Christmas, secured departure permissions for the plane and its passengers, striving to resolve the unusual situation at Vatry Airfield.

Legend Airlines approved transporting 301 passengers on a direct flight to Mumbai. Still, complications arose as some passengers, expecting a tourism trip to Nicaragua, expressed reluctance to travel to India. The airline denied any involvement in potential human trafficking.

Complexities of Transit and Human Trafficking Concerns:

French protocols allow detention for up to four days for police investigations. 

Concerns were raised about the passengers’ rights and the handling of the situation, highlighting the complexities of transit and potential human trafficking issues.

Nicaragua’s Role and Migration Dynamics:

Nicaragua, labeled by the US as falling short in addressing human trafficking, serves as a migratory route due to relaxed entry requirements. 

Charter flights are sometimes utilized in these journeys amid poverty or conflict-driven migrations from other countries.

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