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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 18, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 51
11 years in prison for man convicted in Miami Gay Hungarian sex-slave ring
Section One
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11 years in prison for man convicted in Miami Gay Hungarian sex-slave ring

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

A Hungarian man was sentenced Tuesday to 11 years in prison for running a Gay sex slave ring in Florida. The ring had originally been set up in New York and later moved to Miami.

Andras Vass, 25, was convicted of human trafficking and racketeering in April. He faced a maximum sentence of 155 years after he and two others lured three Hungarian men, aged 20-22, to work for their company - Never Sleep Inc - with promises of $3,500 to $5,000 a month for legal escort work.

When the men arrived, they were imprisoned in a one-bedroom apartment in Miami-Dade County and forced to have sex with customers or with each other on webcam for 18-20 hours a day, according to court papers.

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, according to the Miami Herald and Miami TV station WPLG.

The other two men, Viktor Berki and Gabor Acs, are still awaiting trial.

At least eight men were forced to live in a cramped one-bedroom New York apartment. To keep the men from fleeing, their documents were seized by Berki who frequently reminded the men that he was a police officer in Hungary, the Miami Herald reported.

The men could not speak English and were rarely allowed to leave the apartment. Vass and his accomplices kept all the money their captives earned.

'I was under their control, all day, all night,' one victim said, in a statement reportedly 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.'

A 24-year-old victim said his captors raped him, wielded a sword and threatened his family in Hungary, giving him extra cigarettes if he slept with more men.

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

The man returned to Hungary but was flown back to Miami by a charity that supports male sex-trafficking victims, where he testified along with two other men. He plans to stay in Miami and start a new life with help from the charity, Ark of Freedom.

Before becoming an accomplice, Vass was himself a victim and forced to marry one of the other men.

'I know very well that I am culpable,' he told the court. '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.'

'He wasn't the one who committed the violence,' his defense lawyer Adam Goodman claimed.

The court hearing drew supporters from several South Florida LGBT groups.

'All of them are survivors of different crimes for being Gay or Transgender, said Francesco Duberli of Miami's Survivors Pathway organization. 'We're honored to be here.'

If you or someone you know is the victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center for help at 1-888-373-7888. Victims of trafficking may be granted asylum in the United States regardless of immigration status.

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