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Nicaragua-bound flight carrying over 300 Indians stopped in France over human trafficking charges

New Delhi: A charter flight to Nicaragua carrying more than 300 Indian passengers was stopped in France on suspicion of “human trafficking”, news agency AFP quoted officials as saying. A flight from the United Arab Emirates was detained on Thursday because the passengers were “likely to be victims of human trafficking,” according to the Paris public prosecutor’s office, the news agency reported.

A unit specializing in organized crime is investigating the case and two people have been arrested for questioning, AFP reported.

The charter flight, operated by the Romanian company Legend Airlines, landed at Vatri Airport on technical grounds upon police intervention. “The reception hall at Vatry Airport was converted into a waiting area with individual beds to provide passengers with the best possible reception facilities,” the prefect office of Eastern Marne said, reports news agency Reuters.

Taking note of the incident, the Indian Embassy in France said it has obtained consular access and the matter is being investigated.

“French authorities informed us that 303 people, mostly of Indian origin, traveling from Dubai to Nicaragua were stopped at a technical stop at a French airport. The embassy team has arrived and gained consular access. We are investigating the situation, also ensuring the well-being of the passengers,” the embassy wrote.

According to reports, many people are at the airport which has been sealed by the police. Investigation into the purpose of the journey has also been started. According to the BBC report, it is believed that some passengers were illegal immigrants.

AFP quoted its sources as saying that the Indian travelers may have planned to travel to Central America to enter the United States or Canada illegally.

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