Detroit Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd wants to make an impact on the world beyond just helping his team win games.
The 28-year-old and his wife, Ashley Boyd, have saved dozens of girls in Uganda from sex slavery and trafficking through their nonprofit, Kingdom Home, according to the Detroit Free Press‘ Jeff Seidel. The organization was formed after the couple heard about Dorothy Stella Alue, a woman from the East African country who was experiencing financial difficulties that threatened her efforts to protect 36 girls who had either been rescued from trafficking, genital mutilation or forced marriages.
“She has a heart for rescuing girls. It kind of stems back to her personal history,” Ashley said of Alue. “She was going to be sold as a childhood bride to her neighbor. She was a little girl.”
After learning more about her story and the lives of the girls she was struggling to protect, Matthew and Ashley — who share a 1-year-old daughter and are currently expecting their second child — formed Kingdom Home to provide clothing and food for the girls.
“We can end child sex trafficking in Uganda,” Matthew, who is a devout Christian, told the newspaper. “The bad guys aren’t smarter than us. We can end this. We can outsmart them. We can beat them to the kids. We can protect them.”
The couple visited Uganda after the 2018 season to meet with Alue and the girls, and now have plans to expand their efforts. The couple is currently fundraising for Kingdom Home so they can build four new shelters over the next three years to shield more victims.
“This is what we were supposed to do,” Ashley told the Free Press of starting the organization. “That was the start of something way bigger than we ever would have known.”
With a fundraiser scheduled for March 16 at Topgolf in Tampa and another at May 20 at Topgolf in Auburn Hills, the couple is hoping to raise at least $50,000.
“Our goal is for them to no longer be at risk for child sex slavery,” Ashley added to the Detroit Free Press. “If we give them a skill and a value beyond selling their bodies, they will be successful and we will reach our goal.”
According to The Human Trafficking Institute, Uganda has made efforts over recent years to bring a halt to sex trafficking and forced labor. One of the improvements they have made has been to their judicial process, which saw them have prosecutors, investigators, judges and police partake in special training about trafficking. But, still, it remains a major problem that affects countless victims across the globe.
The couple plans to visit Uganda in the fall once the baseball season comes to an end.
“We love them all like our own family,” Ashley said to the newspaper.