After going through a tough time in France for four days, people who just got back to India are dealing with a lot of questions about their controversial trip. The French authorities are looking into possible human trafficking during their journey. But many of these folks are avoiding talking to the media outside Mumbai airport.
Around 276 passengers, mostly Indians, landed in Mumbai after 4 am. Immigration officials questioned them a lot, but eventually, they were allowed to go.
Once outside the airport, they made an effort to steer clear of the media curious about the purpose of their trip.
One passenger quickly said, “No one is coming from France, sir,” and then disappeared into the crowd. Another person who returned from France didn’t want to speak to the media. The hush-hush with the media might be because of the widely reported suspicion of illegal immigration.
These passengers got stuck at Vatry airport in France for four days when their plane to Nicaragua was stopped from flying. This happened after a tip-off that they might be victims of human trafficking.
Legend Airlines, the company running the plane, denied any wrongdoing. A French judge allowed the plane and passengers to leave on Monday, but only 276 could get on board. That’s because 20 adults and five kids sought asylum in Europe, and international law prevents sending them back to their home country.
Two others questioned by authorities were also released, but they weren’t part of the group returning that morning. Their lawyer shared that they got an order to leave France. Nicaragua, in Central America, is a popular spot for people trying to get into the US illegally.
Surprisingly, almost 97,000 Indians tried to enter the US illegally in the 2023 fiscal year—a huge increase of 51.61% from the year before, according to US official data. About 41,770 of them tried to cross the US-Mexico border, as shown by US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) data. Flights to Nicaragua or other places where it’s easy to get travel documents are nicknamed ‘donkey’ flights.