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Boss Of Scottish Elite Escorts Is Jailed

from www.express.co.uk – A SEX trafficker who built up a £20,000-a-week prostitution empire was yesterday jailed for more than three years.

Stephen Craig and his prostitute girlfriend Sarah Beukan [both pictured] arranged the travel, accommodation and advertising for 14 prostitutes across a network of brothels.

The group included several pre-operative transsexuals, who were ferried between properties in cities including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Belfast and Cardiff.

Yesterday Craig was jailed for three years and four months at Glasgow Sheriff Court under new legislation covering trafficking.

Beukan, 22, was jailed for a year and a half for her part in running the £3,000-a-day network.

They pled guilty last month on the day that their trial was due to start, saving more than 200 witnesses from giving evidence.

The gravity of this offence means the only appropriate way of dealing with it is a period in custody.

Craig, 34, began building his empire in 2009 by recruiting women who were already working as prostitutes and allowing them to work from flats in return for “commission” on their earnings.

They included women from Brazil and Nigeria and two university graduates who became involved in prostitution in a bid to pay off their student debts.

Within a year, Craig had more than 20 sex workers under his control and advertised their services on the internet under the name “Scottish Elite Escorts”, which was even listed in the 118-118 phone directory.

Craig’s empire was uncovered last summer when the police were tipped off about a brothel in Glasgow’s Clyde Street.

In the property they discovered “sexual paraphernalia”, a Bolivian woman and a pre-operative transsexual.

They also recovered a diary detailing the movements of the prostitutes between Craig’s various properties across the UK.

Detective Inspector Stephen Grant, who led the investigation into the network, said: “His co- accused and girlfriend Sarah Beukan made it known to victims that Stephen Craig was linked to organised crime networks and the females who worked for him felt threatened by that.”

DI Grant also said that Craig would visit every premises once a day to take his “commission”, and would also make frequent phone calls to the brothels to harangue the prostitutes into working harder.

Those living in the UK illegally would travel to Belfast by ferry and the rest of the country by train.

Pre-paid credit cards were used to transfer money and pay for the rental of properties.

The court was told by defence solicitor Murdo MacLeod QC there was “never any pressure, force, threat or compulsion of any kind directed at the women involved”.

Passing sentence, Sheriff Sam Cathcart said: “The gravity of this offence means the only appropriate way of dealing with it is a period in custody.”

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