Hungarians use the web to lure gay men into U.S., turn them into sex slaves

Trio of lovers used the web -- Facebook, RentBoy.com, LiveJasmin.com and PlanetRomeo.com -- to run their sex slave scheme

Authorities arrested Viktor Berki, left, and Andras Janos Vass, right, in New York. Gabir Acs, not shown, was arrested in Miami in 2013. The three are being accused of turning three Hungarian men into sex slaves. 

MIAMI - Viktor Berki once said that Gabor Acs and Andras Janos Vass were his business partners and lovers, a witness told federal authorities.

Their Never Sleep, Inc. enterprise involved slaves -- who did not speak English and barely got to sleep, prosecutors said. Their profitable strategy included using social media and employment ads to find gay men in Hungary and convince them to move to the City That Never Sleeps, records show.

On June 2013, Never Sleeps was hiring. An advertisement on a Hungarian employment website said they were looking for a hairdresser to work in New York.

"It's OK if you are gay," the posting said.

Three of the victims, ages 20 to 22, rescued in South Florida were first promised that they would earn thousands of dollars as escorts. But what they would get was nightmares. Authorities said they were forced to perform sex acts in front of a webcam and engage in prostitution for 18 to 20 hours a day.

"Their traffickers used various techniques to keep them enslaved, including isolating them from others, withholding their travel and identification documents, and using financial manipulation to keep them in constant debt," federal special agent Melissa Pavlikowski said in an arrest warrant.

Their plot would not last long. Three victims, who were rescued last year, told federal authorities that the trio never gave them a dime. The president of Never Sleep, Berki, 28, and Vass, 21, were in New York waiting to be extradited to Miami-Dade. Vas was arrested in 2013. He was being held at Krome Detention Center, Miami State Attorney's Office spokesman Ed Griffith said.

LURING THE VICTIMS

Acs was familiar with the industry. When he was 29, Acs had a webcam profile on CoedFever.com that listed his penis size and a description of him as bisexual, versatile and athletic.

With the help of a Hungarian translator, one of the victims told federal authorities that he used to be a student in Hungary. He said Berki requested him on Facebook in 2010. He traveled from Hungary to Vienna to meet him and Acs for a day. 

In 2012, Acs contacted him on GayRomeo.com. The two became friends on Facebook, and Acs would offer him a job that would allow him to make between $3,500 to $5,000 a month. Berki helped to arrange his trip.

The student's nightmare would begin May 3rd, 2012 when he arrived to a crowded one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. And it was about to get worst.

That same year, another man in the same predicament arrived from Hungary July 27. And another, who said he used to be a gipsy prostitute in Budapest, arrived Sept. 1st.

Ads with pictures calling the victims "honey boy" or "hot boy" on websites like RentBoy.com and PlanetRomeo.com would follow. They were charging between $200 to $400 an hour for prostitution, investigators said. Their photos would also be posted on LiveJasmin.com and other websites.

The deal according to the victims was that when they would have sex with clients they would turn in all of the money to their pimps. They would get half, but their debt would be deducted from their earnings --- and they were always in debt.

CONTROLLING VICTIMS

A Hungarian witness in Miami told authorities that the three victims were submissive, clasped their hands together and looked toward the ground. He said Berki told him Acs and Vass were his boyfriends, and that the sex slavery plot was bringing in about $40,000 a week.

The three used verbal and physical abuse to control their victims, prosecutors said.  Acs once said  "I will kill you all" and threatened one of them with a samurai sword.  He also used to tell them that he was able to "make all of them disappear; like they never even existed," one of the victims told investigators.

Berki often reminded them of their alleged connections with law enforcement in Hungary. They, the victims believed, could hurt their families, because to get the Visa waiver they had provided them with their information.

NIGHTMARE IN MIAMI-DADE

Authorities believe they moved to West Miami-Dade August 2013 for fear that one of the escorts had reported them to authorities in New York. The three victims and the three pimps moved to a house, 13356 NW 8th Lane, near Tamiami

They were rarely allowed to leave the house and "they were told it was, because they could not speak English and were not familiar with the area," according to the arrest warrant.

About two months after their arrival, someone contacted a federal human trafficking hotline to report three sex trafficking victims were in Miami Beach. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations took up the case Oct. 26, 2013, authorities said.

"This case serves as a reminder that sex trafficking is not limited to any particular race, gender, age or sexual orientation," federal special agent in charge Alysa Erichs said in a statement.

HOW THEY RAN NEVER SLEEP

They used Bank of America and records showed Berki and Acs made numerous cash deposits. There were also account transfers and check deposits made out to "cash," the arrest warrant said.

This is how authorities believe they divided the responsibilities:

Berki's role: He managed finances, completed documentation and bought plane tickets. Sometimes he would pay for advertisements or a cab to take victims to their meetings. He also set up the online webcams.

Acs' role: He also had access to the bank account. He controlled the online advertisements, set the prices with clients and drove the victims to meetings. And he directed victims to perform live sex webcam shows.  LiveJasmin.com collected a 70 percent fee and Acs received the other 30 percent.

Vass' role: He was the violent disciplinarian, who withheld their identifications, and threatened them regularly.

The three are facing five first degree felonies and a one third degree felony in Miami-Dade. Prosecutors said the three were charged with racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, three counts of human trafficking and deriving support from prostitution. 

DOCUMENTS | Read victim's statements, arrest warrants and HSI affidavit 

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