Acting AG Henry announces guilty verdict in Berks County human trafficking case

Acting Attorney General Michelle Henry announced Thursday that Hector Rivera was found guilty on charges related to human trafficking in Berks County.

The investigation, conducted by the Office of Attorney General and the Pennsylvania State Police, revealed that Rivera used promises of drugs and money, as well as threats of physical violence, to prey upon a vulnerable young woman and force her into prostitution.

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“This individual exploited and manipulated a young woman, using drugs and threats of violence to keep her under his control,” said Acting AG Henry. “This guilty verdict will ensure that Rivera is held accountable for his cruel and violent crimes. Our office will continue to use every tool at our disposal to prosecute human trafficking crimes and bring predators to justice.”

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

In April 2020, Rivera brought the young woman to a hotel in Reading where he proceeded to arrange multiple appointments for commercial sex acts and she was coerced to have sex with men in exchange for money. Rivera kept all of the money from these transactions.

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“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.”

Rivera is currently in jail awaiting sentencing. This case was prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney Heather Castellino.

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Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly is an independent and locally owned digital newspaper covering the City of Reading and Berks County. Subscribe today: berksweekly.com/subscribe
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