Early this morning, an Airbus A340 landed in Mumbai, carrying 276 passengers, mostly Indians. This came after a four-day holdup in France due to suspected human trafficking. The plane touched down in Mumbai at around 4 am, departing from Vatry airport near Paris at 2:30 pm local time.
French officials confirmed that 276 passengers boarded the flight, while 27, including five minors, stayed in France seeking asylum. When the plane landed in Vatry on Friday, they found 11 unaccompanied minors among the 303 passengers. During the four days at Vatry airport, stranded passengers were provided with makeshift beds, access to toilets and showers, and meals with hot drinks.
The flight’s connection to Nicaragua raised concerns, as the US saw a rise in Indians trying to enter illegally. In the fiscal year 2023, the US Customs and Border Patrol recorded 96,917 attempts, a 51.61 percent increase from the previous year.
There’s worry about migrants using ‘donkey flights,’ going through countries with lax travel requirements to reach their final destinations.
Why the Plane Was Grounded
The Dubai charter flight landed near Paris to refuel but got grounded after a tip-off about potential human trafficking victims. According to AFP sources, the plane might be linked to a crime syndicate smuggling people into the United States. The investigation is now handled by France’s anti-organized crime unit, JUNALCO. If proven, human trafficking in France could lead to a sentence of up to 20 years.