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VERIFY: Is a Hagerstown sex trafficking online warning post legit?

We can verify a Hagerstown sex trafficking warning is currently unfounded. Officials say to report any suspicious behavior seen first to police not online.

QUESTION:

Is a Hagerstown sex trafficking warning legit?

ANSWER:

Officials say there is currently proof to support the claim but the investigation remains on-going.

SOURCES:

Tilt Studio spokesperson, Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, Polaris

PROCESS:

There's lots of safety warnings on social media but you can't always be sure which ones are legit.

That what's one viewer asked us to look into regarding a human trafficking claim.

West Virginia viewer Amy Roman turned to our Verify team after coming across a scary warning in a local area where she has family.

The Facebook post warns parents to be on high alert due to sex trafficking at Tilt Studio at the Valley Mall in Hagerstown.

So Verify researchers reached out to a Tilt Studio spokesperson who told us they are aware of the claim. They are also working with local police, investigating the supposed claim, checking their store cameras as well as getting a better description of the supposes suspects but so far, they have no proof that supports creeps are lurking around there.

They are also urging anyone who thinks they see something suspicious to reach out staff immediately as well as the police.

We also found the person that shared the Hagerstown post also shared a Facebook Live with over 10 million views, where a Florida woman makes a similar claim warning of human trafficking after saying she was followed and recorded in a grocery store.

But the Verify team checked with Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, who confirm there's no evidence to back up the human trafficking claim.

Non-profit organization working to combat human trafficking, Polaris Project has reported specifically in Florida an increase in human trafficking calls and tips reported to their hotline-precisely 604 in 2017.

So we verified this Hagerstown sex trafficking warning is currently unfounded. Officials say to report any suspicious behavior seen first to police not online.

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