City student fell into pair’s sex for sale snare

A CITY medical student turned to vice after hitting hard financial times, a court heard.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 13th September 2011, 1:13 pm

Glasgow Sheriff Court was told of statements given to police by two protected witnesses involved in the escort agency run by Stephen Craig, including a young Edinburgh student forced into the sex industry to pay off debts.

The Belfast girl, who was studying and working part-time to fund her education, was put into protection amid concerns for her safety.

The second vulnerable witness – a 23-year-old Bolivian – also reported her experience to the police.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Last year, the News revealed that growing numbers of students were turning to prostitution in Edinburgh to fund their degree, with dozens taking up escorting and some selling sex in student halls.

Stephen Craig, 34, of Clydebank, pled guilty last week to moving 14 people around the UK for sex between January 2009 and September 2010.

His co-accused Sarah Beukan, 22, of Leith, admitted to committing the same offence between October 2009 and last September.

They were arrested on September 3, 2010 and are the first in Scotland to be convicted under new trafficking legislation.

Craig now faces action under the proceeds of crime act after making money from his part

Evidence of the involvement of both accused in the running of an organised criminal prostitution operation working from addresses in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Belfast, Cardiff and Newcastle was collected by officers from various UK forces.

The pair were caught after travel documents, internet and newspaper ads, telecoms evidence and pre-paid credit cards which linked them to each other and key witnesses – who were sex workers – were found.

Depute fiscal Mark Allan told the court that the “most significant” sources were accounts provided to police by prostitutes recruited by Craig.

Mr Allan said: “The vulnerable witness accounts are those of a young student who, through difficulties with debt, became involved initially in the sex industry within saunas 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.”

It was also heard that more than £54,000 was spent on advertising paid for by Craig.

Murdo Macleod QC, defending Craig said the dad-of-two decided not to pursue a career in the military when his partner expressed concerns and that he “made the choice he now bitterly regrets”.

Beukan's defence QC, Donald Findlay, said his client worked as a prostitute and assisted in certain aspects of the business but with no financial gain.

Sheriff Sam Cathcart deferred sentence until next month for reports.