France grounds plane over suspected ‘human trafficking’ – DW – 12/23/2023

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Police in France were questioning two men after authorities grounded a flight to Nicaragua carrying more than 300 Indian passengers over suspected “human trafficking,” prosecutors said on Friday.

According to a statement from the Paris prosecutor’s office, an anonymous tip-off signaled that the flight, which had flown in from the United Arab Emirates was carrying people who could be victims of human trafficking. 

The A340 plane, operated by Romania-based charter company Legend Airlines, was grounded on Thursday when it stopped for refueling at the Vatry airport in eastern France.

Where are the passengers now?

“Identity checks are being carried on the 303 passengers and on the cabin crew,” said the prosecutor’s office.

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The statement added that officials were also checking the conditions in which the passengers were being transported and the purpose of their travel.

After the flight was grounded, its passengers were first kept on the aircraft but were then transferred to the terminal building where they were given individual beds.

They were set to remain at the airport overnight Friday, local authorities said.

In a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, the Indian embassy in France said that the authorities in Paris had informed them of the situation.

“Embassy team has reached & obtained consular access,” it said.

“We are investigating the situation, also ensuring well being of passengers.”

dvv/sri (AFP, AP)

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