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FBI agent says human trafficking an issue in area

Timothy Wolford, supervisory special agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Pittsburgh, gave a presentation on human trafficking Wednesday at the Treesdale Golf & Country Club. Paula Grubbs/Butler Eagle

ADAMS TWP — Despite scary social media warnings, a black zip tie around a fence post, a dollar bill found under a windshield wiper at the mall, and suspicious men following a young mom around a department store are not the common ways human traffickers acquire their victims.

Timothy Wolford, supervisory special agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Pittsburgh office, gave a presentation on human trafficking Wednesday at the invitation of the Rich-Mar Rotary club.

The event, held at lunchtime at the Treesdale Golf & Country Club, set the record straight on human trafficking from the perspective of an FBI agent who investigates and prosecutes cases in the Pittsburgh area.

Wolford said 221 human trafficking cases were investigated in 2020 in Pennsylvania. Of those, 177 were sex trafficking.

He said human traffickers rarely grab victims from the street, throw them in a van and drive them to another state.

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