Andras Vass was sentenced this week to more than a decade behind bars for his part in an elaborate scheme in which he and two others lured young men from Hungary to the United States under false pretenses then forced them to have sex on webcams and prostitute themselves to strangers for up to 20 hours a day for months on end.
One of Vass’ victims, a 24-year-old Hungarian man, testified that Vass and his henchmen threatened to kill his family if he didn’t have sex with men around the clock. The abuse nearly ruined his life.
“It’s really hard for me to socialize, to mingle with people,” the young man testified. “I started drinking heavily to try and forget. I lost all my friends.”
The man also said that Vass would use extra food and cigarettes as rewards for his victims who “slept with enough johns.”
Those who didn’t meet their quota were threatened with a sword.
“I was under their control, all day, all night,” a second victim added in a written 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.”
According to court documents, Vass started the operation back in 2012. His strategy was to find desperate Hungarian men on social media sites and offer to fly them to New York for legitimate work. 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.
Once the men arrived, however, they were made to live in a stuffy one-bedroom apartment and perform sex acts literally all day and night then given just four to six hours to sleep before doing it all again, day after day, week after week, month after month. They were not paid, though Vass and his fellow pimps raked in around $40,000 each per month. And at one point, as many as eight young men all shared the same cramped apartment.
“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,” Pavlikowski said.
Though he faced a possible 155 years in prison, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Richard Hersch sentenced Vass to just 11 years.
“I know very well that I am culpable,” 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.”
His other two cohorts, Viktor Berki and Gabor Acs, are still awaiting trial.
h/t: Miami Herald