Roughly 300 Indian Citizens Are Confined In A French Airport Amid A Human Trafficking Police Operation: REPORT

(Photo by GAIZKA IROZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
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Roughly 300 Indian citizens were allegedly sequestered for a third day in a French airport due a police operation that claimed victims of human trafficking might be on board, according to the Associated Press (AP).

An unmarked A340 plane was grounded Thursday following a tip to French police that possible victims of human trafficking were allegedly on board the flight en route from Fujairah airport in the United Arab Emirates, according to AP News. The 15 crew member charter flight, operated by Legend Airlines, was headed to Managua, Nicaragua before it was grounded by French authorities in the Vatry Airport in Champagne, France.

The Indian Embassy in France responded to the ongoing situation on X (formerly Twitter), stating that they are continuing “to work with French Gov for the welfare of the Indians” hoping to find an “early resolution of the situation.” (RELATED: Homeland Security Rescues Two Mexican Nationals Who Were Allegedly Smuggled Across Border, Kidnapped In Hotel)

The Legend Airlines flight originally stopped at the Vatry Airport for refueling until it was grounded by French authorities based on the anonymous tip, AP News reported. Both children and families were among the roughly 300 passengers, with the youngest being almost two years old, according to the outlet. (RELATED: Stacey Abrams’ Brother-In-Law Arrested On Human Trafficking Charges)

In addition, a local civil protection agency confirmed there were also several unaccompanied minors among the children on the flight, AP News reported.

French authorities stated that the sequestered passengers have spent two nights so far on camp beds in the airport as the investigation continues, according to AP News. Two unidentified passengers have been detained as part of the investigation and prosecutors have not confirmed what alleged trafficking was involved nor the flight’s ultimate destination, the outlet reported.

Following the grounding of the plane, emergency workers, a doctor and local volunteers arrived on site to assist in helping with the passengers, according to the outlet. All travelers have been provided with regular meals, medical care and access to both toilets and showers, according to AP News. The Head of the Regional Civil Protection Service, Patrick Jaloux, said they are “trying to find ways to help them pass the time,” noting that they have also set up a special section of the terminal specifically for families, the outlet reported.

A lawyer for the Legends Airline, Liliana Bakayoko, confirmed the company’s cooperation with the French authorities, telling AP News they deny any role in the alleged human trafficking and stating they have not “committed any infraction.” Bakayoko noted that a “partner” company had verified the identity of each passenger, communicating the passport information to the airline 48 hours prior to the flight, AP News reported.

All other flights into the Vatry Airport have been cancelled or rerouted as the investigation continues, according to AP News.