It is easy to ignore what goes on around you. We are encouraged from an early age to mind our own business and not to interfere in other people’s affairs so it would have been easy for trucker Kevin Kimmel to have settled back down and ignored what he saw one cold January morning at a gas station in Virginia.
Luckily for one young woman, Kimmel didn’t ignore what he saw. Instead, he made a call that unraveled a horrific tale that is repeated all around the country every day.
That call changed his life and took him in a whole new direction.
10. One January In Virginia
Out on Route 106 in Kent County, Virgina, there is a well-used Pilot truck stop much like any other across the country. Trucks come and go throughout the day and night, and truckers try to catch up on the sleep they need when driving hundreds of miles a day.
9. An Alert Trucker
January 6th, 2015 was not like any other day, though. It was a day that changed the life of father, grandfather and veteran trucker Kevin Kimmel as well as the life of the brave victim he saw for the briefest of moments through the dirty windows of a dilapidated old RV.
8. Out Of Place RV
Kimmel saw an old RV that looked out of place because it had black curtains drawn across all of the windows. When he saw a man approach the rear of the RV, knock and go in, he also caught sight of a young girl peeking out from behind one of the window coverings.
7. A Call To The Sheriff
The alert trucker knew what he had to do. After looking up the details of the local sheriffs’ department, he dialed and shared his concerns with law enforcement. In no time at all, the sheriffs were on the scene and Kevin Kimmel watched as they began investigating the suspicious vehicle.
Discover what happened to the owners of the RV on slide four.
6. Two Arrests
The driver and his wife were found in the RV, along with a young woman whom they had lured away from her home in Iowa. The woman was described as malnourished and disheveled and had been kept as a prisoner of the couple who forced her to work as a prostitute at the truck stops they visited.
5. A Victim Saved
Although her name has been withheld by the courts to protect her privacy, we do know the woman was the victim of extensive sexual abuse and violence. The traffickers Aldair Hodza, 36, and Laura Sorensen, 31, of Clive, Iowa had driven nails into her hands and feet, put out cigarettes on her body and poured bleach on her wounds.
Read about another victim on slide one.
4. Many More Victims
Unfortunately, this couple, who received 42 and 40 years in prison for their crimes are not alone, or even that unusual. There are thought to be thousands of men, women, and children who are abducted each year in the US and used in the sex trafficking trade until they are of no use anymore and “disposed of.”
3.Truckers Against Trafficing
The national anti-trafficking organization, Truckers Against Trucking, recognized that truckers have a unique window on the country’s highways and truck stops. There are more truckers out there than law enforcement officers, so the knights of the road have eyes and ears in far more places than the police.
2. Training Truckers
These mannequins are used to show truckers what to look for to spot potential human trafficking victims. To distinguish victims from those who are not engaged in prostitution under duress, the truckers are told to look for bruises, rope burns, and tattoos of a possessive nature such as UPC codes.
1. Why They Do It
This is Jessa Crisp, and it is stories like hers that drive the Truckers Against Trafficking to keep up their amazing work. Crisp is not the victim from Kevin Kimmel’s experience, but she was trafficked for sex from the time she was a child until she was saved and managed to begin her life again.
Kevin Kimmel and the men like him who travel our highways day and night are often viewed with suspicion and considered to be the type of men who would want to use the services of a sex trafficker rather than stop one.
However, Kimmel and his fellow truckers with TAT not only drive our roads and deliver our goods, but they also help to protect the most vulnerable members of society.
Through training sessions and speaking engagements around the US, Kimmel informs and educates and hopefully inspires other truckers to speak up when they see something suspicious and perhaps save a life like he did.