"Modern-day slavery is not tolerated for anyone, and all are protected.”
By
Michaela Morgan

3 Feb 2017 - 1:58 PM  UPDATED 3 Feb 2017 - 1:58 PM

A court in Miami has found Hungarian men Gabor Acs and Viktor Berki guilty of human trafficking, conspiracy, and racketeering after they lured gay men to the US and forced them to prostitute themselves.

Court documents show that the young victims—also from Hungary—arrived with no money or grasp of the English language. They believed they would work for a few months in New York, earn thousands of dollars and then return to their families.

Prosecutors allege that instead, they were forced to perform sex acts in a cramped apartment either for a webcam or with clients in New York and Miami. They were rarely allowed to leave their apartment and ate only bun-less hot dogs and ramen noodles.

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Prosecutor Brenda Mezick told jurors that the victims were “strangers in a strange land” who were “scared all the time”.

She says the young men were scared their captors would retaliate against their families in Hungary if they tried to leave.

“And they would have people in Hungary watch them, even if they returned. They did not understand what options they really had,” says Mezick.

However, the defence lawyers for Acs and Berki alleged that their victims fabricated the stories of sex-slavery in order to seek asylum in the US.

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“This is nothing but a group of young gay men, Hungarian men, escaping persecution in their country. They won’t freely admit it but they knew exactly what they were doing,” says lawyer Ronald Manto.

When the pair were eventually convicted, Mezick said that “Human trafficking, modern-day slavery, is not tolerated for anyone, and all are protected.”

The two men have not yet been sentenced but could face more than 200 years in prison.