A desperate search is underway for 17 missionaries who were kidnapped and taken hostage over the weekend.
Among those abducted on Saturday include 16 Americans and one Canadian. The missionaries belong to Christian Aid Ministries (CAM), a conservative Anabaptist organization founded in 1981. The group was kidnapped outside Port-au-Prince while on their way home from visiting an orphanage.
The ministry supplies Bibles, builds homes, and fights poverty around the globe. The non-profit did not respond to CBN's request for comment.
Instead, the organization left a voice recording for the public to urgently pray for the seven women, five men, and five children who were kidnapped. The youngest is only 2-years-old.
Since the assassination of its president earlier this year, criminal gangs now rule the streets of Haiti and kidnappings are one of the only growth industries.
This year, more than 360 people have reportedly been kidnapped with ransoms funding gang activities. The missionaries were snatched by the notorious "400 Mawozo Gang."
So far there has not been a demand for ransom but experts believe the kidnappers could ask as much as one million per hostage.
"They're basically going for the money and Americans have got the money," said Dr. David Vanderpool, a medical missionary and founder of the non-profit, LiveBeyond. "They probably won't harm these individuals - they might beat them up."
Dr. Vanderpool has been serving in Haiti for over 10 years. He says the apparent targeting of American church groups is sounding alarm bells for missionaries serving overseas.
Vanderpool's team of 100 has experienced violence on a growing scale.
His wife and two other members were kidnapped and beaten, and his base manager was murdered at their front gate.
"This is what suffering looks like. It's not when you're latte gets cold at Starbucks," Vanderpool stated. "Suffering is physical, you bleed. This is what people who follow Jesus should expect will happen to them. That is what we were called to do, is to complete the suffering that Jesus started."
Haitian's represent the majority of those kidnapped, which has gone up 300 percent in recent months. Dr. Vanderpool is worried that this recent kidnapping shows that gangs have stopped fearing U.S. retribution.
"The gangs are basically in control," said Dr. Vanderpool. "Many carry Russian-made, medium-weight machine guns. The situation is extremely dire and unfortunately, it's been allowed to get worse and worse."
The White House and State Department say they're working with Haitian leaders to locate and bring the missionaries home.
"Prayer is the answer," Vanderpool added. "God is in complete control, even though it appears to be utter chaos for mankind."