Sheriff Baxter weighs in after missionaries abducted in Haiti

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Sixteen Americans and one Canadian, all missionaries, are currently being held hostage in Haiti after they were kidnapped by the 400 Mawozo Gang, which roughly translates to "400 Inexperienced Men".

The group of hostages includes five children.

News10NBC’s Patrick Moussignac talked to Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter, who for years now with his family worked as missionaries in the impoverished Caribbean Island.

Sheriff Baxter says they may not be college-educated, but they are highly sophisticated on how they carry out their crimes.

Baxter sent News10NBC pictures showing what life is like on the island. Both he and his family travel frequently to Haiti where they worked at two local orphanages near the capital city of Port-au-Prince.

Baxter said he also helped trained security guards at these orphanages on how to protect the property, children and staff, and most importantly how to defend themselves in a crisis situation. Baxter went on to say that these kidnappings are nothing new, but more help needs to be done to help the Haitian people, who he says are both friendly and beautiful people.

"We’re asking people to pray," Baxter said. "We’re asking people to you know petition our government to help stabilize, and also you know work with you local non-profits that are supporting these folks in Haiti that are really stuck in hell."

Tune into News10NBC at 11 when a young woman from Haiti will describe what life is like on the island and how she is dealing with tough times in her country.