Gabor Acs, Viktor Berki and Andras Janos Vass, had all immigrated to the United States from Hungary. Once the men were able to get their visas and were legally allowed to live in the country, they reached out to men through various social media websites and offered to take them from the crushing poverty and persecution they faced at home. Acs, Berki and Vass promised these men quick, legal money and a great new life here in the US. Unfortunately, those promises were a scam.
The men first met with the victims in New York. During their stay they were forced to meet with johns at all hours of the day and night in a cramped apartment they all shared. After several months they were told that they would be moving to Florida.
The victims were then transported to a home Acs, Berki and Vass shared in Miami. Their passport and other legal documents were taken and kept inside of a safe, and other various intimidation tactics forced the victims to be completely isolated from the outside world.
For up to 18-20 hours a day, the victims were forced to perform sex acts in front of a webcam, as well as working as male prostitutes. A “car wash” sign posted to the outside of the home helped to prevent anyone who took notice of the unusual amount of traffic there from asking too many questions. The money the victims collected went directly into the pockets of Acs, Berki and Vass.
It wasn’t until October of 2013 that an investigation had been opened by the Department of Homeland Security on the possible sex trafficking ring that had been run from the home. A woman posing as an immigration attorney convinced the victims to come forward about the abuse, assuring them that they could remain in the country if they took the case to trial.
Andras Janos Vass was found guilty in 2015 on charges related to human trafficking. He received an 11-year sentence. In his closing statements, Vass 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.”
Acs and Berki, the two ringleaders behind the operation, say that the men came here willingly in order to escape persecution back in Hungry because they were homosexual. According to Acs and Berki’s defense, the victims exaggerated their claims because they were told that they could remain in the country if they agreed to testify against Acs, Berki and Vass.
The jury felt differently after hearing how the men intimidated the victims by threatening their families at home and had abused the victims. One victim recalled that he had been raped by the men, threatened with a sword, and forced to marry one of them.
On February 1, 2017, both Acs and Berki were found guilty of racketeering, human trafficking, and conspiracy. They are still awaiting sentencing.