May 7, 2012
First of all, I want to thank you for your continued kindness and generosity. There is no doubt in my mind that without your past financial support, the Missionaries of Africa would not have been able to reach out to those who are suffering throughout Africa. Your charity is what makes our work possible.
This is a very difficult letter to write. It concerns a very sensitive subject -- one that most people are uneasy speaking about. As a matter of fact, I have never written to you about it before. But the cry for help continues to grow louder every day . . .
. . . so I must write to you. We can no longer keep silent.
Recently I received a letter from Sr. Maggie Kennedy -- a Missionary Sister of Our Lady of Africa who lives and works among the poor in Machakos, Kenya, in East Africa. There Sr. Maggie and a staff of other religious women as well as a group of more than 30 volunteers are working to fight human trafficking. It is an incredibly difficult ministry, but it is one that must be done.
“The first thing we have begun to do,” Sr. Maggie writes, “is to create an awareness among the people of the region. They know human trafficking exists, but most people are not aware of how widespread of a problem it is, nor are they aware of what they can do to stop it. We want them to know that they are not powerless. That something can be done -- that something must be done.”
“Over the past year,” her letter continues, “we have trained volunteers who have been divided into teams to travel throughout the region to provide information to the various communities on how to safeguard their family members. What we have discovered in the course of this, though, is that human trafficking in Kenya has more varieties than those commonly understood. For example, in some regions, little children are being kidnapped for ritual sacrifices! They are being abducted so as to be killed during cultic rituals. In other areas, women and children are being taken against their will for the purpose of being forced to work as slaves. Others are also being abducted for sexual exploitation.”
“There is a common feeling among ordinary Kenyans,” Sr. Maggie explains, “that human trafficking is affecting their families -- stories of young children or adults being abducted and sold are not seen on the television or heard on the radio, but from church meetings and neighbors.”
“We are working to produce material resources and disseminate as much information as we can as quickly as we can. But we need help to do it. Everyone is volunteering their time to fight this problem. Even our missionaries are working without any compensation. Can you help us?”
My dear friend, we cannot work hard enough or quickly enough to fight this. It is too horrible to imagine: a child being abducted to be a slave -- or worse, to be murdered during a human sacrifice!
In her letter, Sr. Maggie provides a detailed budget showing the costs involved in this life-saving work. During the next year, it will cost approximately $18,000 to travel (including providing food and water) to the farthest communities of the region, as well as to print informational items and other essential materials. It may sound like a lot, but there are more than 1,000 communities within the Machakos region! Please, is there any way you can help Sr. Maggie and her army of volunteers work to fight against the human trafficking that is claiming so many young lives?
Whatever sacrificial gift you can send will go towards helping Sr. Maggie as well as our other missionaries who are working to help the poor and those who are suffering. The need is great and it is urgent. I hope that there is some way you can help as quickly as possible. God bless you for your kindness, your caring and your continued generosity!