AN Edinburgh prostitute is said to have been dealt the “biggest shock of her life” after being convicted of sex trafficking.
Sarah Beukan, 22, from Leith, was jailed yesterday for her part in the human trafficking network operated by her boyfriend Stephen Craig, 34.
The pair pleaded guilty last month to moving 14 men and women to various addresses in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Belfast, Cardiff and Newcastle for sex.
Craig, of Clydebank, was sentenced to 40 months in prison and now faces proceedings under the proceeds of crime act, while Beukan was ordered to spend 18 months behind bars.
They were the first people to be convicted in Scotland under new legislation covering trafficking within the UK.
Glasgow Sheriff Court heard how the women involved were moved around the UK to work at all of the premises.
Those living in the UK illegally would travel to Belfast by ferry and around the rest of the country by train.
Pre-paid credit cards were used to transfer money and pay for the rental of properties, so the women would not carry cash when they travelled.
They also provided accommodation for the women to work out of, put advertisements for their services in newspapers and online, and took a cut from their wages.
Two properties were used in Edinburgh at the Cowgate and Grassmarket, and as well as being involved in the management of the scheme, Beukan also worked as a prostitute herself.
A student from Northern Ireland and a Bolivian woman both spoke to police.
Depute fiscal Mark Allan told the court: “The vulnerable witness accounts are those of a young student who, through difficulties with debt, became involved in the sex industry within saunas in Edinburgh before moving to the criminal enterprise run by the accused.
“She described a feeling of relief when the police arrived and that cycle of her life had been broken.”
Murdo Macleod QC, representing Craig, told the court earlier that he gave up a military career and pursued his venture after renting a flat to a woman who was an escort.
He said the father of two decided not to become a soldier when his partner expressed concerns and that he “made the choice he now bitterly regrets”.
Advocate Paul Brown, representing Beukan, said her period on remand has been the “biggest shock of her life”.