Meet The Long-Haul Truckers Who Are Putting An End To These Illegal Shipments

Truck driver Kevin Kimmel has learned about the scourge of human trafficking from personal experience. It began when he happened to be taking a break at a gas station in New Kent County, Virginia, back on January 6, 2015.

Kimmel says it was a quiet morning. However, he noticed a "kind of unusual" RV parked nearby caught his attention. "The thing that stuck out was that this was an old RV with black curtains which wasn't very family-ish," Kimmel notes.

He then watched as a middle-aged man approached the RV and knocked before entering. Moments later, the old RV began to move in a rocking motion. Kimmel says he saw a "minor female" from behind the curtain in the RV before she quickly disappeared.

The trucker didn’t hesitate. He whipped out his phone and called the local sheriff. The police showed up within a few minutes, bringing out "a female in really bad shape” and a man and a woman in handcuffs.

Kimmel gave a statement to the authorities, but he would not hear anything else about the incident for months.

Almost six months later he saw on the news that the girl in the RV window was a 20-year-old sex trafficking victim. She had run away from home in Iowa and had been held against her will, sexually assaulted and forced into prostitution.

Her pimps, Laura Sorenson and Aldair Hodza, were eventually given 40 and 42-year prison sentences. Testimony at the trial suggested the couple had driven nails into the victim's feet, burned her with hot metal instruments and pimped her out at truck stops to men via online ads.

According to human trafficking experts, long-haul truckers such as Kimmel are increasingly operating on the front lines in the battle against human trafficking today.

Kimmel is still a truck driver and speaks at anti-trafficking events around the country. He points out that truckers spend a lot of time in places where trafficking victims are often found given the transient nature of their job.

"[Traffickers] are constantly moving these people. They stay in the darkness. That's why they can't be anywhere too long," Kimmel notes. "But when you're moving them, then you come into my world. If we know the signs and are vigilant then we can make a big piece of this problem go away."

One reason truckers are playing a bigger role in anti-trafficking efforts today is the nonprofit organization truckers Against Trafficking (TAT). This organization educates truckers about the prevalence of trafficking, what to look out for, and how to report suspected human trafficking.

Source: CNN
Photo: CNN

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