France 'Deports' Plane Full Of Suspected Trafficking Victims

The Nicaragua-bound plane was detained in France after receiving a tipoff its passengers were part of a trafficking scheme

France 'Deports' Plane Full Of Suspected Trafficking Victims

A plane carrying around 300 Indian passengers returned to India on Tuesday, days after it was detained in France on suspicion of being part of a trafficking scheme.

The passengers on board quickly filtered out of the airport without speaking to the media.

The Airbus A340, operated by Romanian company Legend Airlines, flew to France via the United Arab Emirates last week with 303 passengers on the manifest.

The plane was bound for the Central American country of Nicaragua, and the insides resembled less of a regular plane with seats and more of a container with beds, toilets and showers. 

However, when the flight returned to Mumbai on Tuesday, it carried only 276 individuals. Around 25 passengers, including five minors, sought asylum in France. 

Authorities in France and India said that the French authorities had detained two people for questioning over the trafficking link with Nicaragua, considered to be a staging base for illegal migrants to join the migrant convoy that travels up southern and central America and into North American states of the USA and Canada. Some 100,000 Indians have attempted to enter the USA illegally via the migrant corridor.

The 30 crew members on board were not detained.

French authorities now say they have determined that the passengers were not trafficked and had boarded the flight of their own volition. However, France says these passengers could have violated immigration laws.