Building a trucker army to fight human trafficking

When truck driver Kevin pulled into a gas station in New Kent County, Virginia, on the morning of January 6, 2015, his life would forever change. Kimmel knew little of human trafficking until he recalls a quiet scene that happened with few other people around. That day he viewed something that was kind of unusual when a family recreational vehicle parked nearby caught his eye. What stuck out as strange to him was that the old family RV with black curtains didn't feel very "family-ish," Kimmel said. Kimmel watched as a man approached the RV and knocked before entering. Then moments later, The RV began to rock back and forth. Kimmel then saw what he thought was a minor female who appeared from behind the curtain before quickly disappearing. Kimmel immediately pulled out his smartphone and looked up the phone number of the local sheriff. Police cars were quickly on the scene, taking away a young girl who was in bad shape. A man and a woman in handcuffs soon followed.

After the incident, Kimmel gave statements to the police and FBI, and that was the last he would hear about what happened for months. Some time later he saw on the news that the woman he saw was a 20-year-old sex trafficking victim. The young woman had been lured away from her home in Iowa, and held against her will, subjected to an ordeal of torture, forced prostitution, and sexual assault. Iowa couple Aldair Hodza and Laura Sorenson were subsequently sentenced to 40 and 42 years in prison for the crime. At the trial, it was revealed that the couple had driven nails into the young victim's feet, burned her with metal instruments that were heated up on the RVs stove and pimped her out at truck stops to men who answered their ads online. The young victim was never named publicly, and reports stated that she struggled to talk about what happened to her. Without his concern or quick thinking, the victim may never have been found.

Truckers like Kimmel are increasingly seen as being the eyes of the highway, helping in the fight against human trafficking. This sort of crime is described by the National Human Trafficking Hotline as a modern-day form of slavery in which traffickers use force, coercion, and fraud to control victims for the purpose of engaging them in commercial sex acts or labor services against his (or) her will. Victims of these crimes are often women and young children, but men and boys are also trafficked. Potential incidences of human trafficking have been reported in every state in America, according to the NHTH hotline data, and the issue has been making trending news and described as an "epidemic" by President Donald Trump. The people most at risk are usually individuals without strong family or social support networks. However, anyone can be targeted. Kimmel, who still drives a truck, speaks about his new experiences at anti-trafficking events around the country and says that truckers tend to spend a lot of time in the places that victims might pass through given the transient nature of their job. Kimmel says that the traffickers are always moving these victims, they tend to stay in the darkness. This is why they can't be anywhere for too long. If people know the signs and are vigilant, then they can help make some of this problem go away.

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) an anti-trafficking charity hopes to educate truckers about what to look out for, how to report suspected incidences of human trafficking and why it is important to do so. This is just one of the trending news stories you will find on the CNN site. On CNN you will find new trending news, new trending vides, business, new gadgets, arts and life and more. **

Learn MORE at CNN

To help with slow website load, we have put all photos for this article here: View photo gallery.