Showing posts with label Sex Slave. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sex Slave. Show all posts

February 1, 2017

Two Hungarians in Miami Get 11 Years for Importing Sex Slaves







I have been watching this story for a couple of days but it wasn’t until today that there was confirmation from the Miami Herald. I wonder how many other things are going on in front of us and we don’t see it. 

                                                                           _*_

Two Hungarians are guilty of luring young gay men to the United States to serve as sex slaves, a Miami-Dade jury decided late Wednesday.

Gabor Acs and Viktor Berki were convicted of human trafficking, conspiracy and racketeering in a case hailed as a first for Florida prosecutors because the victims were gay men forced to prostitute themselves for months in New York and Miami.

Jurors deliberated just four hours. The two men will be sentenced at a later date but face more than 200 years in prison, if given the maximum.

This week’s trial was the second for the three victims who testified. The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit earlier won a conviction against a third man involved in the ring. In 2015, Andras Janos Vass was convicted at trial and sentenced to just over 11 years in prison.

Jurors this week weighed whether the three young men were true victims of a brutal sex ring — or willing participants who conned authorities in an attempt to avoid deportation back to Hungary, as defense lawyers claimed.

Investigators said Berki and Acs mets two of the victims in Hungary through a website called GayRomeo.com. Another victim was “living with gypsies” as a prostitute, meeting Acs through Facebook.

The three men testified that in 2012, they were flown to New York City to work in what they believed was a legal business in the United States.

In New York and later Miami, the men, then in their early 20s, were forced to live in a cramped conditions while performing sex acts around the clock, sometimes with johns, other times on live web cameras, prosecutors said. The three were given little food and threatened with violence if they left , the state told jurors.

“These victims were no match for these defendants. They were 20-year-olds who didn’t have enough education, who were desperate for money, who came over here without speaking the language, barely any U.S. money to their name” prosecutor Brenda Mezick said in closing arguments.

She added later: “Human trafficking, modern-day slavery, is not tolerated for anyone, and all are protected.”

But defense attorneys blasted the three men as opportunists who turned on Berki and Acs simply to get visas to remain in the United States.

“What they said about the coercion never happened,” said Berki’s attorney, Ronald Manto. “They were doing what they wanted to do and they were doing it the way they wanted to.”

 

December 30, 2015

U.S. gay sex slave trial exposes dangerous choices faced by male victims



                                                                    
Andras Vass was the ringleader of a male prostitution ring of gay Hungarians
in New York City and Miami.


(Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Three young Hungarian men have helped dismantle a U.S. gay prostitution ring that enslaved them, marking a victory for local prosecutors but highlighting the difficulty in reaching and helping male trafficking victims, campaigners said.

The men's accounts of being raped, locked up in windowless rooms, and their lives threatened led to the conviction this month of Andras Janos Vass, 26, for helping to operate a male prostitution ring of gay Hungarians in New York City and Miami.

Sentenced to 11 years in prison, Vass, a Hungarian national, was the first person convicted in Florida for trafficking gay men under the state's tougher human trafficking law that took effect in 2012, authorities said.

The men told the court how they were lured to the United States in 2012 with the promise of well-paid escort jobs but found themselves held as sex slaves and abused daily.

"When somebody asks me about what did I do in the United States, I freeze as I relive again all those bad things," one survivor said through a translator at the Miami-Dade Circuit Court trial. "My soul is still held in captivity by them."

Another victim described being haunted by his 17 months in captivity when he was raped, starved, and sleep-deprived.

"When I see something with red or purple color, it reminds me those red and purple colored rooms where I was locked in," he told the court in a written statement. "I'm afraid that one day I'll be woken up in this windowless room and everything starts over again."

LANDMARK VICTORY

The case marked a victory for the human trafficking task force of the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, which teaches prosecutors and law enforcement to look out for signs of trafficking, said one of its founders, Jane Anderson.

Red flags might include girls arrested for shoplifting sexual lubricants or family disputes in which teens will not disclose to their parents how they got expensive gifts.

"Now when a woman comes with a black eye, and her occupation is listed as a dancer, we don't just assume that the guy who did this is her boyfriend," said Anderson, now an attorney advisor to AEquitas, a Washington-based group that provides resources for prosecutors in sexual violence and trafficking cases.

The prosecutors also may add charges of racketeering to enhance penalties for traffickers, she said.

Vass and two other Hungarian nationals were accused of racketeering, human trafficking and profiting from prostitution for luring Hungarian men to the United States through a website called GayRomeo.com.

The two other men are due to go on trial next year. Their attorneys were not available for comment.

The men they lured from Hungary believed they would be in well-paid, legal jobs in the United States as escorts, prosecutors said, and could go home after a few months.

But when they arrived in 2012, they were kept as slaves in New York and later in Florida, forced into prostitution and to perform on web cams. The captors allegedly threatened to kill them or hurt their families in Hungary, prosecutors said.

"They never let me sleep, if I wanted, eat if I starving," said one survivor in a written statement. "After a year I was ready to take my own life. I felt worthless, unwanted and felt I could never face my family again.

"(I) look back at that 20-year-old boy and I cry for him," he said. "I wish so bad, I could travel back in time."

The investigation into the prostitution ring named "Never Sleep Inc." began in late 2013 after a call to a tip-off line that reported suspicious activity at a house in Miami. The three men were arrested in 2014.

Nathan Earl, who counseled one of the Vass witnesses through Ark of Freedom, his group which helps male and transgender victims of trafficking, said the victims' experiences illustrate the challenge of reaching male trafficking victims.

He said such victims often struggle with their own sexuality and self-worth, and may find it hard to admit they are victims while under pressure to meet certain standards of masculinity.

More than 4,000 human trafficking cases were reported in 2015 in the United States with about one in 10 involving men, according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.

"Any type of outreach poster ... regarding trafficking is typically the teenage girl with pigtails," he said.

"Just seeing that formally encourages that stigma that you are weak, that you are effeminate if you are a victim. There is still such a stigma attached to male victimization."

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Belinda Goldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

December 17, 2015

Gay Slave Trader Gets 11 Years in a Miami Court


 
                                                                        
Court translator Peter Solymosi, left, translates Andras Vass’, right, appeal for forgivingness before he was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for his role in a ring that used gay men from Hungary as sex slaves. CARL JUSTE cjuste@miamiherald.com

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article49875620.html#storylink=cpy


Lured to the United States with the promise of easy money, the slender young man from Hungary spent more than a year confined to bedrooms in New York and Miami — forced to have sex with men around the clock.

His captors raped him. One of the ringleaders, who sometimes wielded a sword, threatened him and his family in Hungary with bloodshed. If he slept with enough johns, the traffickers might give him extra food or a few cigarettes.

Even today, the ordeal has left his psyche in tatters, the 24-year-old told a judge on Tuesday.

“It’s really hard for me to socialize, to mingle with people,” he testified through a Hungarian interpreter. “I started drinking heavily to try and forget. I lost all my friends.”

His story — and the accounts of two other Hungarian men forced into sex slavery — convinced a Miami-Dade judge to sentence one of the ringleaders, Andras Janos Vass, to just over 11 years in state prison for human trafficking.

Vass’ punishment marks the first prison sentence in Florida for someone convicted of the human trafficking of gay men. Florida’s tougher human trafficking law went into effect in 2012.

Tuesday’s court hearing drew over a dozen supporters from several South Florida gay, lesbian and transgender rights groups, some who carried small rainbow flags.

“All of them are survivors of different crimes for being gay or transgender. This is a huge deal,” said Francesco Duberli of Miami’s Survivors Pathway Organization. “We’re honored to be here.”
 
The young male victim had returned to Hungary but was flown to Miami to testify in Tuesday’s hearing. His airfare was paid for by Ark of Freedom, a Fort Lauderdale group that supports male victims of human trafficking.

The man plans to stay in South Florida. “We will support him and make sure he enjoys the best possible life here,” said Nathan Earl, who heads Ark of Freedom.

As for Vass, prosecutors say he and two other men, Gabor Acs and Viktor Berki, lured male victims from Hungary, where most lived in poverty. Acs and Berki are still awaiting trial.

According to authorities, the ringleaders met two victims in Hungary through a website called GayRomeo.com. Another victim was “living with gypsies” as a male prostitute when he met Acs through Facebook.

In 2012, the three victims, all in their early 20s, were flown to New York City to work in what they believed was a legal business in the United States. The victims “believed they would only be in New York for a few months to make tens of thousands of dollars before returning to their homeland and their families,” Homeland Security Investigations agent Melissa Pavlikowski wrote in an arrest warrant.

Acs, Berki and Vass ran a company called Never Sleep Inc.

But in New York, the young men were forced to live in a cramped one-bedroom apartment while performing sex acts around the clock, sometimes with johns, other times on live Web cameras, according to the arrest warrant.

“What happened was absolute terror,” Miami-Dade prosecutor Brenda Mezick told the judge.

Up to eight men lived and worked in the apartment. Their travel documents were seized by Berki, who frequently reminded them he was a policeman in Hungary.

“I was under their control, all day, all night,” one victim said, in a statement read to the court. “They used me like I was a machine. They sold me to strangers. I was not allowed to be tired. I was not allowed to be sad.”

In August 2012, the group moved to Miami, where the ringleaders insisted the men would no longer be prostituting. But the operation resumed in a home in the 13300 block of Northwest Eighth Lane.

Vass, 26, could have gotten a harsher penalty — up to 155 years in prison.

Before becoming an active participant in the ring, Vass himself was victimized by the other two men, forced to marry one. “He wasn’t the one who committed the violence,” defense lawyer Adam Goodman said.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Richard Hersch sentenced Vass to roughly the bottom of the sentencing guidelines — just over 140 months in state prison.

“I know very well that I am culpable,” Vass told the court, also through an interpreter. “After I do my time, I would like to start a new clean life and I’m asking for God’s help and I pray every day for forgiveness.”

July 30, 2015

A US Epidemic: The Selling of Children



                                                                              
In the US, poverty, deprivation and exploitation draws thousands of its own children down into a dark underworld that offers few ways out. 
It is a world few Americans are aware of. But tens of thousands of American children are thought to be sexually exploited every year. 
It's believed that every night hundreds are sold for sex.
The FBI says child sex abuse is almost at an epidemic level, despite the agency rescuing 600 children last year.
"Trafficking" often conjures images of people from other countries being smuggled over land and across the sea and then forced to work against their will in foreign lands. People are trafficked into America from Mexico, Central and South America. But the vast majority of children bought and sold for sex every night in the United States are American kids. 
We have heard from a number of women from the East coast to the Mid-west who have frighteningly similar and horrific stories. Neglected, abused, exploited and often ignored starting from a young age - sometimes even prosecuted by the very people who should have protected them. 
A handful of good souls, the kindness of a few strangers and the good work of some law enforcement agencies and the FBI offer some relief to America's most vulnerable. But the stories we have heard suggest they are only scratching the surface of one of America's best-kept and darkest secrets.

When a choice is not a choice

In Minnesota, I met with former sex workers who had sought support through an advocacy group called Breaking Free. Half of the women in the group were under the age of 18 when they first were sold for sex. Many of the others were not much older than 18.
One woman says she was bought by her aunt at the age of 14.
"She gave my mom $900. Told me I was going shopping at the mall." 
The aunt would bring her to drug dealers' houses, where she was raped and given drugs.
"She would leave me...and then [was] like 'You were messed up, you wanted to stay'," she recalls. She soon believed the abuse was her fault and her choice.  Another woman says she was 17 when she was kicked out of the house.
"I wanted to get high," she says, and turned to working as a prostitute. She later started using the classified adverts website Backpage.com to make more money to keep up with her addiction.
A third was 14 when she was kidnapped by "a guy I thought I liked". She didn't return home for two years. 
Jenny Gains, who leads the group discussion at Breaking Free, says many "manipulate and take advantage of underage girls".
One woman said of her abuser, "He knew I was 14, he had to know that I was underage," despite her attempts to pretend to be 18.
“When he actually found out how old I was it didn't stop him... he wanted me even more." A woman who was first trafficked at 14 says she is living in a shelter right now and is struggling to not return to prostitution.
"There's tricks' names still on my phone, I haven't even deleted them yet and I need to delete them," she says. "Because when I get down, when I'm feeling really yucky it's almost like I want to have that number there."
But she says she doesn't want to return to that life.
"It's just a big circle, you get high, you get tricked, you get the money and you just keep going around and going around, and you have to break off all of them to even be doing okay."
Breaking Free
The women at Breaking Free support each other while they discuss the difficulty of leaving sex work
It is an uphill battle. 
"I just need the support and to believe in myself that I can make it. It's a funny spot I'm in."
Another woman says she hasn't been on Backpage on eight months.
"I'm not perfect. I'm just trying," she says. She finds it difficult to provide for her daughter without the money she made working as a prostitute.
"I stopped when I was 22 and had my first son," the woman says, detailing her "off and on" experience. She's been away for seven months, partially because she is pregnant with her fourth child. 
She hopes attending Breaking Free will prevent her from returning.
Gains listens to another woman
Gains listens to a woman speak at Breaking Free
"I'm going to have a daughter," she says. "I don't want her to do like what I did."
Another woman likens it to an addiction.
"It's like I have this hole like whatever it is it's not enough, that fills it for me, my kids get what they want," she tells the group. "I don't ever have to ask nobody for nothing," 
Many of the women in the Breaking Free yearn for sense of normalcy.
"I just want my freedom back," one woman says. "I just want to look out for my kids, and live my life, live a normal life."
But for women who were sold for sex as children, abuse, drugs and sex work is normal. 
One woman we spoke to in Minnesota was not at Breaking Free. She was on the streets, still working at five months pregnant. 
She says was groomed from age 12 by a neighbour, who enticed her with a garage full of toys and games. He offered her money for topless photos. 
"I see more and more younger girls out here now and it's really sad," she says. 
"It's not a choice. At 12, it was not a choice.”
Some of the groups that helped the BBC during the reporting of this story include Breaking FreeThe Samaritan Women and Angels of Addiction

April 13, 2015

Follow Up: More Details on The Hungarian-Escort made Slaves in NYC Connection


We published the story Saturday but there’s a lot more demand for details, so we are posting more:

Guilty: Andras Janos Vass, 25, has been convicted of human trafficking and racketeering
Guilty: Andras Janos Vass, 25, has been convicted of human trafficking and racketeering
A Hungarian man has been convicted of luring young, gay Eastern European men to the United States for a horrific life of sex slavery.
Andras Janos Vass, 25, was found guilty of human trafficking and racketeering felonies this week after grooming fellow Hungarians online then keeping them captive in New York City and Miami.
Vass brought men to America with the promises of easy work and high wages - then took their travel documents, threatened their families, and made them spend 20 hours a day on sex work, prosecutors said. 
He was found guilty of the offences by a jury in Miami-Dade on Thursday, the Miami Herald reported.
He faces a maximum sentence of 155 years in prison - and will spend at least 21 behind bars.
Three of Vass's victims testified against him at the trial.
Two said they were tempted to the United States after being contacted via Planet Romeo, a free dating site.
According Gay Star News, the men believed they would be employed as legal escorts and make between $3,000 and $5,000 a month.
The victims said they were flown to New York City in 2012 and forced to live in a tiny one-bedroom apartment. They were forced to perform sex work at all hours, either in person or live on webcams.
Lure: Prosecutors said at least two of the victims were lured to America via the Planet Romeo gay dating website
Lure: Prosecutors said at least two of the victims were lured to America via the Planet Romeo gay dating website
According to online listings, Vass's company, Never Sleep Inc., was based at an address in Sunset Park, Brooklyn in New York City.
In August 2012, prosecutors said, the Vass and his associates moved the business to Miami.
Vass is accused of running the sex ring with two other men, Gabor Acs and Viktor Berki, who have yet to stand trial.
Victims said that they had their passports taken when they arrived and that Berki, a former policeman, threatened their families in Hungary.
Vass is due to be sentenced on June 2.


 : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ 

April 11, 2015

Man in Gay Sex Slave ring facing 155 yrs in Jail



                                                                 

A Hungarian national is facing up to 155 years in prison after his conviction this week for keeping young gay men as “sex-slave” prostitutes inside a North Miami-Dade home.
A jury late Thursday convicted Andras Janos Vass, 25, of human trafficking and racketeering.
Prosecutors say Vass and two others ran a company called Never Sleep Inc., forcing the men to prostitute themselves for up to 20 hours a day.
According to authorities, the ringleaders met two victims in Hungary through a website called GayRomeo.com. Another victim was “living with gypsies” as a male prostitute in Hungary when he met one company representative through Facebook.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article18120644.html#storylink=cpy
 The three victims testified during the four-day trial in Miami-Dade. Jurors deliberated just 30 minutes.
In 2012, the company flew the three victims — in their early 20s — to New York City, where they lived in a cramped one-bedroom apartment while performing sex acts around the clock, sometimes with johns, other times on live web cameras, according to the arrest warrant.
Up to eight men lived and worked in the apartment. Jurors heard that the ringleaders took their travel documents and threatened them and their families back in Hungary if they refused to work.
In August 2012, the group moved their operation to Miami-Dade. Defendants Gabor Acs and Viktor Berki, a former policeman in Hungary, are still awaiting trial.
Vass faces a minimum of 21 years in prison. He will be sentenced June 2 before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Richard Hersch.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article18120644.html#storylink=cpy

January 4, 2015

Prince Andrew Named in US “Sex Slave” Billionaire Scheme Court Filling



                                                                          


Britain’s Prince Andrew has been named in a U.S. court filing by a woman who claims she was kept as an underage “sex slave” by a billionaire Wall Street financier.
In a statement Friday, Buckingham Palace in London denied the allegations, made in a motion filed by her lawyers on Monday in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach, Florida.
A plaintiff identified as “Jane Doe #3″ alleges she was “forced to have sexual relations” with the Duke of York in London, New York and the Caribbean at the behest of Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein, a known friend of the prince, was convicted in 2008 of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution and served a prison term.
The motion is not the first time the prince’s name has been linked to the case, but the allegations were serious enough for the British royal family to issue a formal denial.
“This relates to long-running and ongoing civil proceedings in the U.S. to which the Duke of York is not a party,” a spokesman said. “However, for the avoidance of doubt, any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.”
“Jane Doe #3″ made the claim in a motion to be included in an ongoing civil case that accuses federal prosecutors of cutting a plea-bargain deal with Epstein without consulting his victims, in violation of the U.S. Crime Victims Rights’ Act.
Prince Andrew leaves a London hospital after visiting his father, Prince Philip, in June 2012. | APEpstein was sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to a single Florida state charge of soliciting prostitution. He remains a registered sex offender.
The filing alleges Epstein forced “Jane Doe #3″ to have sexual relations with Andrew in London, New York and on the financier’s private Caribbean island during an orgy with other underage girls.
“Epstein instructed Jane Doe #3 that she was to give the prince whatever he demanded and required Jane Doe #3 to report back to him on the details of the sexual abuse,” the document states.
Jeffrey Epstein | JEFFREY EPSTEIN / CC-BY-1.0No dates for the purported sexual encounters were given, but the woman claimed she was Epstein’s sex slave from 1999 through 2002.
Others named in the filing include Alan Dershowitz, one of Epstein’s defense lawyers, with whom “Jane Doe #3″ was allegedly forced to have sex with on several occasions — a claim he denied.
She said she had sex on private airplanes and in multiple locations in the United States with Dershowitz.
The Harvard Law School professor, who is one of America’s most prominent jurists, said Friday he can easily prove the claim to be untrue.
In an interview, he accused “Jane Doe #3″ of “filing a false and malicious legal proceeding” in an attempt to extort money from his former client.
Dershowitz challenged the woman to file criminal charges against him. He said he also plans to act swiftly to have her lawyers disbarred for unethical conduct.
“I know with 1 million percent certainty that the story about me is made up,” he said. “I am squeaky clean and I will fight back because I have nothing to hide.”
Fifth in line to the British throne, Andrew, 54, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, was Britain’s special representative for international trade and investment for 10 years until 2011.
Among Americans, he is best known as the ex-husband of Sarah Ferguson, 55, popularly known as Fergie. The couple, who have two children, divorced in 1996 but remain close friends.
AFP-JIJI, REUTERS

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