Berks County Man Jailed Up to 69 Years for Orchestrating Human Trafficking

May 24, 2023 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG—Attorney General Michelle Henry today announced that Hector Rivera, 52, will serve at least 33 and ½ years in prison for trafficking a woman in Berks County.

Rivera was sentenced in Berks County Court to serve 33 and ½ to 69 years in prison, following a February jury trial conviction on 15 charges, including human trafficking. As part of his sentence, he will also be required to register as a tier one sex offender.

An investigation conducted by the Office of Attorney General and the Pennsylvania State Police revealed that Rivera preyed on a vulnerable young woman, enticing her with drugs and threatening her with violence.

“The defendant exploited and manipulated a young woman, using drugs and threats of violence to keep her under his control,” said AG Henry. “Today’s sentencing ensures that Rivera is held accountable for perpetrating this cruel and violent behavior. The Office of Attorney General is committed to using every tool at our disposal to prosecute human trafficking crimes and bring predators to justice.”

A Grand Jury investigation found that Rivera began selling drugs to his victim, who struggled with addiction, in 2019. When she could no longer pay for drugs, Rivera forced her to perform sexual acts for him and other men in exchange for crack-cocaine.

In April 2020, Rivera brought the young woman to a hotel in Reading where she was coerced to have sex with men in exchange for money. Rivera kept all of the money from these transactions for himself.

“We are thankful that justice has been served in this case, but the work continues on behalf of the many victims still out there in need of help,” said Major Serell Ulrich, Director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation. “We appreciate the hard work of all the law enforcement personnel, including those in the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, who made this outcome possible.”

This case was prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney Heather Castellino.

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