Jan. 21, 2016
North Bergen Man Sentenced to 20 Years in State’s First Human Trafficking Case
Newark – Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that Charles P. Torres, 56, of North Bergen was sentenced to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison, with a 20-year period of parole ineligibility, after pleading guilty to two counts of first degree human trafficking, promoting prostitution, sexual assault, causing a child to engage in a sex act while being photographed and endangering the welfare of a child.
The sentence was imposed by the Honorably Richard T. Sules, Judge of the Superior Court. Torres must serve 20 years before he is eligible for parole. In exchange for his guilty plea, charges were dropped against his son, Charles Benjamin Torres, 27, of RidgefieldPark, who was also charged with promoting prostitution.
Assistant Prosecutor Kelly Sandler, who handled the case, said Torres’ pleas to human trafficking fall under the State’s Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection and Treatment Act which went into effect in 2013. These are the first guilty pleas under the revised statute in the State.
On May 1, 2014, Torres pled guilty to multiple counts in Superior Court before the Honorable Sherry Hutchins-Henderson. Torres told the court that he recruited and enticed a minor child to work as an underage prostitute in both Essex and Hudson counties. The child was only 15 years old at the time. Torres stated that he advertised the victim on the internet and accepted money from adult men who had sex with the child. He additionally stated that he committed a sexual assault against the victim and photographed her in sexual situations.
“This case illustrates the threat that human trafficking poses to vulnerable children and young women,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Sandler. “The lengthy sentence is certainly appropriate given the fact that the defendant raped the 15-year-old victim and published her naked photos online.’’
Torres has 14 prior arrests and five prior convictions most for prostitution.
In addition to 20 years in state prison, the defendant is required to register as a Sex Offender pursuant to Megan’s Law and is subject to parole supervision for life. Additionally, he is required to pay a $25,000 fine to the Human Trafficking Survivor’s Assistance Fund.
Codefendant Victor Reyes, 39, of Union City pled guilty to third degree money laundering and will be sentenced to probation on Feb. 19. The case against Patricia Munoz, 24, of Jersey City is still outstanding.