Indian police have broken up an alleged human trafficking ring which transported young boys to France on the pretext of sending them on rugby tours, reports The Telegraph.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested three men after they allegedly tricked the families of 25 children into sending them to France for what they said was a rugby camp.
Once the boys arrived in France in early 2016 they were reportedly taken to a gurudwara, a Sikh temple, in Paris and stripped of their passports.
The case only came to light this year after two of the boys escaped and another was found by French police, who passed word of the trafficking ring to Interpol, the global policing body.
"It is not known yet where in France or Europe those 22 remaining kids are. They might have been sold to someone or put in some job," CBI official told the Times of India.
The boys, aged between 13 and 18, were drawn mainly from two schools in Kapurthala, a city in Punjab in northern India.
The alleged traffickers drew up fake invitations from the French Rugby Federation to convince the children’s parents, police said.
The fate of the other 22 boys remains unclear and it is feared they may have been shipped outside of France.