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First convictions under Scottish sex trafficking laws

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Summary of story from DailyRecord, October 6, 2011

A vice ring chief threatened to pour boiling water down a prostitute’s throat during a reign of terror over dozens of women.

Cops revealed Stephen Craig’s brutal intimidation tactics yesterday as he and ex-prostitute lover Ashleigh Beuken (also referred to as Sarah Beuken) became the first people jailed under new sex trafficking laws in Scotland.

The pair admitted moving 14 men and women to addresses in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff and Newcastle.

And police involved in the inquiry said they had evidence of threats of terrifying violence which would have been heard if the charges had gone to trial.

The case was hailed by Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland as a “landmark” in the battle against the exploitation of vulnerable women.

Craig, 34, from Clydebank, near Glasgow, was jailed for three years and four months at Glasgow Sheriff Court, while Beuken, 23, from Leith, Edinburgh, got 18 months.

Their gang – who moved women between brothels across Britain but placed them mainly in Glasgow and Belfast – are believed to have been pulling in at least £20,000 a week from the trade.

Property worth £2.35million – a large chunk of it owned by Craig – is now being targeted for seizure under proceeds of crime laws.

A source on Operation Factor, a joint inquiry by Strathclyde Police and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), said last night many of the prostitutes involved were “vulnerable”.

You can read the story of one woman’s nightmare here.

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