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Justice and security for Lara Hall


Lara Hall a brave Australian Lawyer with a severe mental health condition, who suffered violence and sexual abuse at her Pakistani Muslim captors hands after being groomed has been speaking out against the failure of the Australian High Commission in Pakistan to protect her and other women victims of grooming. 

She now faces severe harrassment by facebook trollers and the ingnominy of an attempted denial of the savagery against her by Sajjad Khan her rapist.  Lara is seeking the help of those passionate toards her cause for her to receive assisted living for one year as she struggles to; overcome her trauma, challenge the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to alter existing protocols for helping victims of grooming and those with a severe mental condition and to prosecute sexual predator Sajjad Khan for her months of captivity, abuse and rape.

The British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) are launching this fundraiser on behalf of Lara Hall, an Australian citizen who in 2018 fell prey to a lecherous Pakistani Muslim, Sajjad – a man she had known online for circa six years through his Sydney based relatives.

Sajjad procured and groomed Ms Hall into travelling to Pakistan on the false pretences of romance and marriage. He was very charismatic and whenever any doubt would arise in the minds of Ms Hall and her close ones, he always eschewed this doubt – even going so far as to falsify documents.

He portrayed himself to be compassionate and empathetic and seemed to comfort Ms Hall at a time when she was extremely vulnerable. Ms Hall had an incredibly dysfunctional childhood and she suffers Harm OCD, PTSD, depression and anxiety – all very common mental ailments. She considers OCD to be the worst of her conditions.

At the time Sajjad predated on Ms Hall she was experiencing an exacerbation of her Harm OCD which manifests itself in an obsessive desire not to cause harm to others and to seek reassurance that she is a good person who has not ‘harmed’ any of her loved ones. Sajjad knew this and he promised that she would find comfort, love and support from him and his family. Given that Ms Hall came from a broken home, this contrived sense of belonging was something that was very attractive to her at a time that she was most vulnerable. He promised to provide her with the nurturing and family she had always craved.

It was indeed the perfect time for him to prey on her. He promised that she would get the best care, support, and help in Pakistan and have a much needed “time out.” Her faith in his authenticity was reinforced and bolstered continuously by his Sydney relatives who she saw often and lived a mere ten minutes away and who had always described Sajjad as a kind, compassionate and loving soul who would take good care of her. Groomers often identify people’s weaknesses and utilise them to take advantage of them which is exactly what Sajjad and his Australian relatives did.

She was assured that during her visit she would be free, happy, well taken care of and live in nice, sanitary accomodation. He told her that reports about the status of women in Pakistan are fraught with bias and that he often sees a white girl traipsing happily alone in the market place and he assured Ms Hall she would be free and happy to do the same.

Grooming is a burgeoning global phenomenon – you only need to look at the proliferation of grooming gangs throughout the UK, primarily perpetrated by Muslim men of Pakistani heritage.

In April 2018 Ms Hall set off to Pakistan with a dual purpose, firstly to attend the wedding of Sajjad’s younger brother and secondly to see if her and Sajjad, this person everyone had come to view as so empathetic and compassionate could hit it off romantically.

According to her documents, Ms Hall was only allowed to stay in Pakistan for a one month visit. Shortly after arriving Lara began to realise that Sajjad had pathologically lied about how her life in Pakistan would be. She was subject to squalid living conditions and living in a five bedroom house, catering circa 20 people. Her flight was cancelled and her documents were confiscated from her. She began to realise Sajjad and his family were cruel and she was increasingly subject to incredible abuse including, inter alia, sexual abuse from two family members, starvation (sometimes for 12 to 14 hours), bullying, intimidation, imprisonment (only ever allowed out upon Sajjad’s permission – and the few times she defied that and tried to run away she was subject to extreme punishment).
She was subject to long periods of confinement and not even allowed to approach the door and was only let out on rare occasions under strict supervision for short intervals, usually because she begged.

Increasingly concerned about her plight and the precariousness of her visa situation, Ms Hall reached out to the Australian consulate and the Australian High Commission in Islamabad and was repeatedly met with a ‘lacklustre’ response and told to rely on local authorities – a terrifying prospect for anyone, especially for someone with high anxiety and OCD (consular officials should be mental health trained and informed) and a lapsed visa situation who was told by her captors that the police would harm her if she ever tried to escape.

As Ms Hall’s continued cries for help fell on deaf ears, she realised that her only avenue of escape was to surreptitiously and covertly network with influential people online. She made plans with these people to flee and to redress the visa issue – she knew she was slowly heading into Iegal “no man’s land” and onto the black list where you are liable to be jailed as an overstayer.

Although plans were being set in motion for Ms Hall to be set free and she had managed to reclaim her passport (and kept it hidden once she did), Ms Hall had to exit earlier than previously planned. This was because one night after she discovered Sajjad had paired his phone to hers and she immediately became concerned that this meant he was cognisant of her escape plans.

In a state of distress and panic she had no other choice but to approach him and question him about this wherein a fight ensued and a death threat was issued. With a palpitating heart Lara barricaded herself in her room and made the only “choice” she felt she could make which was to bravely, albeit with shaking hands, dial ‘15’ the local police number. Circa 30 police officers descended on the house and conveyed Lara into the care of prominent business man Dr Kaiser Rafiq.

Although Ms Hall was ‘free’ from her abuser and his cruel family, her troubles were far from over and she had to go to Islamabad to plead with the Interior Ministry not to jail her for overstaying. She arrived one day prior to the date she was supposed to go on the black list and it was only by the grace of God that she did not go to jail, something that the minister’s initially entertained doing. When in Islamabad, Ms Hall once again reached out to the Australian officials and even asked for a meeting with the Australian High Commission in Islamabad telling them what dire stakes she was in but they refused to meet with her and give her safe harbour and rather left her to the lions – telling her that it was not within the scope of their charter to help her.

Ms Hall was granted a one month grace period and a $400 USD overstay fine was imposed. She raised the funds primarily through Go Fund Me. The funds raised were used to help Ms Hall pay the overstay fine, get a flight and facilitate all the costs associated with her safe exit. BPCA also contributed significantly to her safe exit by helping her with some of her costs and giving her counselling. BPCA are still avidly helping Ms Hall and will continue to do so.

Lara remains very thankful to the many good Pakistani muslims who helped her. She is incredibly grateful for the support provided by many Pakistani Muslims and the British Pakistani Christian Association
who contributed to her safe exit.

After being granted an exit permit, Ms Hall obtained her safe exit from her hellish nightmare. Ms Hall is now bravely speaking out with the aspiration that her story will be a cautionary tale so that no other person falls prey to the same evil predicament.

This  appeal is being established on behalf of Ms Hall because she has continued need concomitant on her situation.

Understandably Ms Hall is suffering from extreme PTSD from her nightmare experience and was even hospitalised last week because of this. She is also on very high medication to treat her mental ailments including Valium, Lexotan (which assists her with her panic attacks) and Clomipramine. We would like Lara to continue receiving treatment and also to get counselling and assisted living for a year to ensure her safety. All of this comes at a cost. BPCA estimates the cost of assisted living and counselling for one year to be circa $15000 AUD (£8163).

Lara is also taking the time to consider legal action to ensure Sajjad does not predate on anybody else. All of this comes at a cost. BPCA estimates solicitors costs will be in the vicinity of $3000 AUD (£1633). In total BPCA is calling for $18000 (£9796) to pay for temporary assisted, safe living for Lara for one year, counselling and legal fees. Please get behind her. She is keen to heal so that she can be a voice for other grooming victims and mental health sufferers.

Please donate by clicking (here) or Donate via our GoFundMe appeal for Justice and Safety (here)

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