The Nicaragua-bound Airbus A340, initially en route from Dubai, has been grounded at Vatry airport near Paris following suspicions of potential human trafficking among its passengers.
The judges hold the authority to extend the detention order by eight days initially and, if needed, another eight, with a two-day window to interview the passengers. “The goal is to be able to see everyone,” stated Annick Browne, the prosecutor for the Chalons-en-Champagne region, to AFP.
Translators are aiding the judges in the process, as they engage with the 303 passengers from the Romanian company Legend Airlines, currently confined within the airport. This group comprises 11 unaccompanied minors, as confirmed by Paris prosecutors. Among them, ten passengers have sought asylum.
The France plane human trafficking victims
With tarpaulin covering the entrance hall’s glass exterior and restricted access enforced by police and gendarmes, the situation remains tense. Two passengers under custody have had their detention extended for up to 48 hours, as authorities scrutinize their potential role in the transport and its objectives.
Investigators are rigorously verifying the identity and intentions of both passengers and crew. The Indian embassy in Paris has also engaged in resolving the situation, ensuring consular assistance onsite.
Patrick Jaloux, from the Marne region’s civil protection, acknowledged the passengers’ evident frustration after spending three nights in the airport. He noted that some spoke Hindi, while others communicated in Tamil, emphasizing their ongoing contact with families via phone.
An insider linked to the inquiry suggested that Indian passengers might have been UAE workers, potentially aiming for Nicaragua as part of their journey to the United States or Canada.
In response to the situation, the Indian embassy confirmed the incident involving a majority of Indian-origin passengers, stating they were investigating and ensuring their well-being.