Somaly Mam and Chong Kim are not the only ones that tells lies about being a Sex Trafficking Victim. Everyone does it to gain victim benefits.
Sun News : Calgary police say woman made up story she was child who escaped from sex ring
Samantha Lyndell Azzopardi, 26, originally of Sydney, Australia, is charged with public mischief to mislead peace officer about being a Sex Trafficking victim.
Credits: Calgary Police/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency
Samantha Lyndell Azzopardi, 26, originally of Sydney, Australia, is charged with public mischief to mislead peace officer about being a Sex Trafficking Victim.
CALGARY, Canada – As an example of a person crying wolf, few lies can be more repugnant than someone telling doctors and police that she is the victim of long term abduction and sexual torture, and that there may be children still caught in the same sex trafficking ring.
And yet that’s exactly what police say Samantha Lyndell Azzopardi did in Calgary, just one year after the same 26-year-old Australian was accused of duping police in Dublin, Ireland with a similar tall tale of sexual abduction, leading cops there to spend 2,000 man hours trying to track a child sex ring that didn’t exist.
In Calgary, police say the slightly-built adult walked into a city health care centre on Sept. 16, claiming to be a 14-year-old girl named Aurora Hepburn and a victim of abduction, sexual assault and torture.
The story and physical evidence was enough to convince doctors and detectives in Calgary there was truth behind the horrific claims, and Staff Sgt. Kelly Campbell says weeks and “countless hours” were spent trying to piece together the slivers of information the self-proclaimed victim would offer.
But a call to Interpol, in a desperate attempt to match Aurora Hepburn’s European accent to missing teens there, cracked the case in ways police could not expect.
She was known in Europe, all right, but as a serial fraudster with a flare for acting and wasting police time.
In fall of 2013, Azzopardi was found wandering the streets of Dublin alone and in apparent anguish, but attempts to communicate were met with silence, the distraught female being apparently unable to speak.
Communicating with police through broken bits of writing and drawings, Azzopardi convinced officers she was a sex slave from eastern Europe, triggering a wild-goose chase that ended up costing nearly $300,000 in lost time and resources.
“This investigation has involved over 2,000 hours, engaging with all the relevant authorities and all the relevant specialists in this area,” Superintendent Dave Taylor told reporters.
Irish police were so convinced they had an underage sex slave on their hands, they sought special high court permission to release her photograph worldwide, hoping someone might identify her.
Someone did – but when an Irish man approached police, saying he’d once dated the victim’s mother, he also revealed the “girl” to be a grown woman from Australia, who’d had many an encounter with the law down under.
Australian police confirmed she was Azzopardi, an adult from New South Wales with a history of psychiatric illness, more than 40 known aliases, and a long list of convictions for fraud-related offences.
Newspapers like the Brisbane Courier-Mail quickly jumped on the story, reporting the same woman had been convicted in 2010 for charges relating to making false representations and forging documents, and in 2012 for welfare fraud in Perth, for which she received a suspended sentence.
But Irish police, rather than throwing her in jail, decided to deport her instead, washing their hands of the problem.
And now it’s Calgary’s problem.
Police here have charged Azzopardi with public mischief to mislead a peace officer, but it may prove easier to just deport her, the way Ireland did.
Hopefully, Alberta does the right thing instead.
Azzopardi deserves a fair trail, but if it’s proven she wasted valuable health resources and police time with lies, she also deserves the harshest punishment our court system can dish out.
Police say she’s a woman who likes to tell stories – and that something only a cold dose of reality can cure.