Odd curtains hanging in an RV were one of many things that began to tip off an eagle-eyed trucker and raise red flags. Then, he saw the eyes peering from the window, and he knew he had to do something — fast.
Truck driver Kevin Kimmel was stopped at a rest stop in New Kent, Virginia, late at night, when several strange things about an RV parked in the Pilot Truck lot nearby caught his attention. Kevin was inside his rig, parked behind the Pilot station, a few spaces over from the RV. That was the first thing the trucker found odd.
“In my world, that’s not natural. When RVs usually use truck stops, they park out front,” Kevin explained. Already suspicious of the older RV, Kevin then notice the curtains. They were black. In fact, the entire camper seemed to be all blacked out with black drapes, which didn’t make it look like a families’ RV, according to Kevin.
When a man knocked on the door and stepped inside, the trucker became even more concerned as he then saw the RV rocking back and forth. After the man exited, Kevin continued to watch the suspicious vehicle. That’s when he saw the set of distraught eyes peering from behind one of the black curtains in a window.
It was a young woman, and she looked like she was in distress. Fearing she was in danger, Kevin decided to follow his instinct and take immediate action. For Kevin, it was a “no brainer” what was going on. “When I saw the young girl’s face, I said that’s not going to happen, I’ve got daughters and granddaughters,” he explained.
“So I called [the] police and within five minutes there were four cars there,” the trucker-turned-hero recalled. After discovering the frightened woman, who was disheveled and appeared malnourished, had been abducted and forced into prostitution by an Iowa couple, officers arrested Aldair Hodza and Laura Sorenson.
It was undeniably Kevin Kimmel’s careful observation and immediate action that saved the woman. “I’m just happy I helped her,” he said. But, the heroic trucker’s noble actions didn’t end there. “The more informed I got, the more I was interested in becoming part of the solution,” explained Kevin.
After hearing the gruesome details of the crime he thwarted on the news, Kevin realized that he and his fellow truckers have a unique opportunity since they spend so much time in places where victims might also pass through. Kevin has since taken it upon himself to help raise awareness.
Years after helping rescue the young woman, Kevin still works driving a truck, but he also tours the country, helping in the fight against human trafficking. He speaks about his experiences at anti-trafficking events with Truckers Against Trafficking and has also shared it on video.
As Kevin knows all too well, it only takes being observant and one phone call to save a life and send the monsters that lurk among us where they belong — jail. “That person is alive today and two really bad people are where they’re supposed to be,” Kevin said. “Do the right thing, if you see something say something.”
Kevin, along with Truckers Against Trafficking, educates other truck drivers on the warning signs to look out for and how to be aware of what’s going on around you while on the road. Then, it encourages them to do something about it. And, it’s changing the way truckers across the country think.
And, “really bad people” is a kind way to describe Hodza and Sorenson. Even the words “human trafficking” aren’t horrific enough to describe what these degenerates put their victim through. The couple was charged with a federal crime of sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion after authorities determined they used both torture and sexual abuse to force the victim to engage in prostitution.
They admitted that they convinced the victim to join them in their RV using a ruse, then took her phone, forced her to consume alcohol and marijuana, and sexually assaulted her before making her engage in prostitution for several days after posting advertisements on Craigslist, soliciting the victim for sexual acts in exchange for money. But, her nightmare was only beginning.
As they traveled across various states, the couple took the victim with them, continuing to prostitute her against her will. Hodza and Sorenson burned the victim on her back and abdomen with a key and scissors that were heated on the stove and by putting cigarettes out on her body. They also whipped her with a rope, drove nails into her feet, and sprayed bleach into her wounds.
After the couple pleaded guilty to holding a woman hostage in their RV and forcing her to perform sex acts for money, a judge sentenced Aldair Hodza to 41 and a half years in prison while Laura Sorenson received a 40-year sentence. Thanks to Kevin Kimmel, they will remain in a cage, where they belong. Now, his efforts could save others, as he and his fellow truckers travel our roads and help keep them safe.