AG Henry Halts Human Trafficking Ring with Arrest of Chambersburg Man who Beat and Threatened Women in at Least 4 PA Counties

April 19, 2023 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG–Attorney General Michelle Henry today announced the filing of criminal charges against Joseph “Jay” Pulizzi for operating a human trafficking operation across Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry, and York counties.

Pulizzi, 37, of Chambersburg, is charged with numerous offenses, including felony counts of trafficking of individuals, involuntary servitude, and aggravated assault.

The Office of Attorney General investigation revealed that Pulizzi targeted women and deceived them into having paid sexual encounters with customers Pulizzi recruited using the website “Skip the Games.”

“The facts of this case are extremely disturbing. The defendant targeted vulnerable women, deceiving them into his sex work operation, and controlling them with violence and threats,” AG Henry said. “Our office is committed to combating human trafficking and standing up for the victims who feel they have no alternative to continuing to endure a horrific cycle of abuse.”

Pulizzi was arrested in Chambersburg, Franklin County on Wednesday. He was remanded to Dauphin County Prison without bail.

“The Pennsylvania State Police is committed to thoroughly investigating any type of human trafficking and involuntary servitude of others,” said Pennsylvania State Police Major Serell Ulrich, Director, Bureau of Criminal Investigation. “This case is a culmination of outstanding work by our Organized Crime Task Force Unit, which specializes in human trafficking investigations. Arrests like this one would not be possible without our partnership with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, and we are thankful for that.”

“Our partners in the Attorney General’s Office and the Pennsylvania State Police have done an incredible job in bringing this defendant to justice. HSI Philadelphia is proud of the support that we have been able to provide throughout the investigation,” said Special Agent in Charge of HSI Philadelphia William S. Walker. “Human traffickers prey upon the weak and vulnerable in our society for their own selfish gain. Through the hard work and dedication of detectives, agents and prosecutors, we are able to ensure that survivors of these crimes are able to stand up and fight for justice.”

The charges, which stem from the 49th Investigating Grand Jury, were filed and will be prosecuted by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. Through the investigation, it was learned that Pulizzi recruited and exploited at least seven victims. Many of the women he recruited were suffering with substance use disorders, homelessness, and other hardships. Pulizzi promised them significant amounts of money, along with housing and security, in exchange for unspecified services.

Instead, the women were forced to stay in hotel rooms or other temporary lodgings, and deceived into performing sex acts and receiving little or none of the proceeds.

Pulizzi primarily used the website “Skip the Games” to arrange paid sexual encounters with buyers, using photos of the women, who did not give Pulizzi permission to post them online. The women were then forced to meet with the buyers and perform sexual acts in exchange for money. Pulizzi pocketed the majority of the money, giving the women only a small portion to purchase basic necessities like food and hygiene products.

The Grand Jury heard testimony from the victims who discussed how Pulizzi used violence and threats to trap them, making it very difficult for them to leave. Many felt they had no option but to stay and continue to work for him, and were afraid to ask for help from law enforcement or others.

This case was a joint investigation by the Office of Attorney General and the Pennsylvania State Police. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) assisted in the investigation. It is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Heather Castellino. All charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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