The Miami Herald reports on the case of Andras Janos Vass, who was sentenced today to 11 years in prison for luring of young Hungarian men to the United States and then selling them out as sex-slaves.
Lured to the United States with the promise of easy money, the slender young man from Hungary spent more than a year confined to bedrooms in New York and Miami — forced to have sex with men around the clock.
His captors raped him. One of the ringleaders, who sometimes wielded a sword, threatened him and his family in Hungary with bloodshed. If he slept with enough johns, the traffickers might give him extra food or a few cigarettes.
Even today, the ordeal has left his psyche in tatters, the 24-year-old told a judge on Tuesday. “It’s really hard for me to socialize, to mingle with people,” he testified through a Hungarian interpreter. “I started drinking heavily to try and forget. I lost all my friends.”
His story — and the accounts of two other Hungarian men forced into sex slavery — convinced a Miami-Dade judge to sentence one of the ringleaders, Andras Janos Vass, to just over 11 years in state prison for human trafficking.
Vass, himself was also originally a victim of trafficking and was victimized by the other two men in his group and was forced to marry one.
His punishment marks the first prison sentence in Florida for someone convicted of the human trafficking of gay men. Florida’s tougher human trafficking law went into effect in 2012.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Richard Hersch sentenced Vass to roughly the bottom of the sentencing guidelines — just over 140 months in state prison.
The maximum sentence allowable could have been 155 years.
While hundreds of other “straight” escort sites remain open for business the editorial board of the “Old Gray Lady” aka the New York Times is “baffled” by Homeland Security’s raid on Rentboy.com.
NYT’s editorial :
The criminal complaint is so saturated with sexually explicit details, it’s hard not to interpret it as an indictment of gay men as being sexually promiscuous. “Based on my investigation,” Susan Ruiz, a Homeland Security special agent, wrote in the complaint, “I have learned that a sling, also known as a ‘sex sling,’ is a device that allows two people to have sex while one is suspended.” Later, she helpfully explained that “the term ‘twink’ is a slang term for a young, gay man with an effeminate manner, thin build, and no body or facial hair.”
Prosecutors can credibly argue that the site’s operators were breaking the law. But they have provided no reasonable justification for devoting significant resources, particularly from an agency charged with protecting America from terrorists, to shut down a company that provided sex workers with a safer alternative to street walking or relying on pimps. The defendants have not been accused of exploiting sex workers, featuring minors on the website, financial crimes or other serious offenses that would warrant a federal prosecution.
Gay men in the United States turn to sex work for a variety of reasons. In New York, where homeless shelters for gay and transgender youths have lengthy waiting lists, sex work can mean the difference between sleeping on a bed and sleeping on the street. For others, it is a way to afford a degree. The Rentboy.com bust may spook clients and sex workers for a while, but it would be naïve to think it will do much more. Federal authorities should consider whether continuing to spend time and money turning the website’s operators into felons is worthwhile, while far more serious crimes, including human trafficking and sexual exploitation, go unpunished.
Rentboy.com must have forgotten to make this month’s extortion payment to someone.
Just like the old days.
According to the NY Post federal authorities and the NYPD on Tuesday raided the Manhattan headquarters of Rentboy.com and what prosecutors are calling the world’s largest gay prostitution operation in the world.
Brooklyn federal prosecutors said the escort and massage service was really the world’s largest gay “hooker site”, with 2,500 subscribers and $10 million in revenue between 2010 and 2015.
Seven people — including Rentboy.com CEO Jeffrey Hurant and other top staffers were arrested during the raid at 14th Street and Fifth Avenue and are expected to appear in Brooklyn federal court later today.
“As alleged, Rentboy.com attempted to present a veneer of legality, when in fact this internet brothel made millions of dollars from the promotion of illegal prostitution,” Acting Brooklyn US Attorney Kelly T. Currie.
Jeffery Hurant and his staff are all charged with conspiring to violate the Travel Act by promoting prostitution across state lines. If convicted, each faces up to five years behind bars and a fine of up to $250,000.
Its so nice that there is no more REAL crime in NYC that they can go after consenting adults having sex.
As of this posting the site was still up and pounding away.
A federal judge ruled Thursday that Louisiana’s Crime Against Nature by Solicitation (CANS) law, which is mainly used on black transgender prostitutes and other women which requires them if found guilty to register as sex offenders is unconstitutional.
In Louisiana, the state prostitution law does not require registration as a sex offender. But Louisiana Police and prosecutors had unfettered discretion in choosing which law to charge under. The judge found that the discrepancy violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.
Apart from LGBT, the law was also being discriminatorily applied against poor black women.
Said Alexis Agathocleous, staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, which brought the case:
“[The] decision is a powerful vindication of our clients’ right to equal protection before the law. The court has agreed that they have been singled out for this harsh treatment without a legitimate or rational purpose, and that this cannot stand.”
Wrote Judge Martin L. C. Feldman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana:
“The defendants [Louisiana Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell] fail to credibly serve up even one unique legitimating governmental interest that can rationally explain the registration requirement imposed on those convicted of Crime Against Nature by Solicitation.”
“The Court is left with no other conclusion but that the relationship between the classification is so shallow as to render the distinction wholly arbitrary,” he wrote.
Feldman said the issue before him was “not about approval or disapproval of sexual beliefs or mores. It is about the mandate of equality that is enshrined in the Constitution.”
Craigslist has given up fighting to keep up it’s “Adult Services” section after it had been faced with a letter from 17 state attorneys general demanding it immediately shut down its adult services listing.
Craigslist’s “Adult Services” section carried ads for everything from personal massages to a night’s companionship, which critics say veered into prostitution and jailhouse suicide last month of a former medical student who was awaiting trial in the killing of a masseuse he met through Craigslist. But in an intersecting counter-point if Philip Markoff the former medical student who was accused of killing a masseuse he met through Craigslist had gone through another different underground venue the police would have never caught him because they used the messages sent through Craigslist to catch Markoff.
Driving sex work underground is exactly what makes it dangerous. Sex workers in legal brothels do not have to worry about client abuse or persecution by law enforcement. So now 17 attorneys generals who will get to crow how they “saved the children” when they make their bid to run for higher office have actually made it harder and the police crack down on crimes that happen to sex workers and people who use them.
According the AIM Group, Craigslist’s adult services section accounts for 30 percent of its overall revenue — a projected $36.6 million in 2010 out of $122 million. More than half the company’s revenue comes from recruitment advertising and about 17 percent (almost $21 million) comes from apartment ads in New York City, the AIM
Something tells me there’s going to be a huge spike in ads in the ‘therapeutic’ services offered section.