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Men Face Up To 200 Years In Prison For Gay Sex Trafficking

04/02/2017 9:10 AM AEDT | Updated 04/02/2017 9:10 AM AEDT
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The case has been hailed as a first for Florida in that its victims were gay men, rather than women.  

Two men are facing more than 200 years in prison after being found guilty of running a gay sex trafficking operation that operated in both New York and Florida. 

Gabor Acs and Viktor Berki, who are both of Hungarian descent, were convicted Wednesday of human trafficking, conspiracy and racketeering, The Miami Herald is reporting. Acs and Berki lured two young gay men from Hungary through Gay Romeo, a dating and social networking site for men, and a third through Facebook. A third suspect, Andras Janos Vass, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for his involvement in the case in December 2015. 

The three victims, whose names have not released to media outlets, claimed to have been forced to engage in prostitution, and perform sex acts in front of a webcam for 18-20 hours a day, NBC Miami reported. Acs and Berki, the victims said, “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,” according to a Florida State Attorney’s office statement cited by NBC Miami

Still, Berki’s attorney Ronald Manto attempted to portray the three victims as opportunists who had sought visas to remain in the U.S., according to a Jan. 25 Miami Herald report

Katherine Fernandez Rundle, who is the state attorney for Florida’s Miami-Dade County and spoke on behalf of prosecutor Brenda Mezick, told The Huffington Post that she was pleased with the verdict. The case, she said, was a “pioneering” one for Florida human-trafficking prosecutions given that its victims were gay men, rather than women.  

“Right now, these three young men are very traumatized,” Fernandez Rundle told HuffPost. “Hopefully, we will be able to get them the help that they need and bring some normality into their lives.”

She added, “For gay men, this case represented that... they can come forward. They can seek justice. They can be victims, too.” 

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