Everything from “Boss Babes” to the “Me Too” movements in our country has brought the status of women to the forefront and created a growing cultural landscape focused on their importance, safety, worth, and contribution to society. For the past 19 years, She Is Safe, a Roswell-based, Christian non-profit, has been working diligently to bring these values to the “forgotten girls” - women and girls across the world who are treated as a commodity. They are sold into sex slavery, married off during the tender years of their childhood to men old enough to be their grandfathers, and, many times, victims of domestic violence. Because of poverty and the plight of their families, these at-risk girls are targeted by traffickers. They face the potential for a life of hopelessness that blots out any sense of their worth as a woman or valuable contributor to their families or society. Sadly, the number one cause of death for these adolescent girls is suicide because of the heartbreaking trauma that they experience, resulting in a total loss of hope.
Founder and She Is Safe CEO Michele Rickett explains, “She Is Safe’s work of prevention, rescue and restoration frees and equips women and girls to build lives of freedom, and faith for a strong future. It is our desire to see each one of these girls safe, free, and able to be the woman God created her to be - contributing to a stronger future for everyone.”
Each year this dynamic organization holds an annual fundraiser around October 11, which the United Nations has designated as "The International Day of the Girl".
This year’s She Is Safe’s fundraiser, Free a Girl. Change the World., offered supporters and attendees the opportunity to hear about the organization’s work in Nepal, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, South Sudan and areas of Africa and the Middle East.
From the comfort of the Hotel at Avalon, attendees were given a glimpse of the very uncomfortable lives these girls face each day. Young actresses portrayed actual stories of girls SIS has worked with, including a wrenching scene of a typical brothel complete with a girl’s voice pleading to “go home”. The focal point of the Gala’s décor was a fifteen-foot tree built in the middle of the ballroom. Thanks to the efforts of a former Disney set creator, the event’s planners Gillian Marto and Debra Hull, from Roswell’s award-winning Events of a Lifetime Productions, were able to commission and recreate the organization’s iconic Tree of Transformation. “The Tree has become integral to our messaging,” says Michele Rickett. “We see each girl as a tree planted by a life-giving stream. Given the right environment of safety and nurture by She Is Safe coworkers, these girls can become more than mere survivors. They are thrivers, and more-than-conquerors. Their transformed lives make them not only strong and beautiful, but their fruitful branches provide safety and nourishment for the next generation of girls. With enough of these Trees, we can change the landscape of human trafficking.”
Happily, this year’s Free a Girl. Change the World. Gala exceeded the goal to fund the She Is Safe expansion to dozens more high-risk communities. However, the work is extensive and ongoing. “There’s a place for anyone who wants to get involved,” stated Ms. Rickett. “People can help by becoming educated, advocating, praying, volunteering, partnering, and supporting She Is Safe. For more information on how you can help at-risk, forgotten girls, visit SheIsSafe.org/Engage.
She is in DANGER of:
Sex Slavery: 99% of people trafficked for sexual exploitation are women and girls.
Human Trafficking: 80% of those trafficked into all types of servitude are women and girls.
Child Marriage: 250 million girls are forced into marriage as children - a form of human trafficking.