The She Is Safe Story
In 1983, Daniel and Michele Rickett were sent to Nairobi, Kenya as missionaries with their two young daughters. Nothing prepared Michele for what she witnessed in the brutalities and slavery that girls and women suffered across Africa, which she learned were common across the developing world. The shock and hurt pressed into deep scars from Michele’s early childhood experiences before she was rescued from sexual abuse and exploitation. God brought these realities together as a catalyst for Michele’s life calling to transform the lives of girls and women in high-risk, underserved and least-reached communities across the world.
Michele recognized that the collaborative model of partnering with indigenous nonprofits in missions could be used with local women’s groups in places that rob women and girls of dignity, exploiting them into sexual slavery, child marriage and other forms of forced labor. This model of partnership would become the foundation for She Is Safe’s work globally.
By the early 90s there was growing international recognition of the abuse and exploitation of women and girls, though the terms “modern slavery” and “human trafficking” were largely unknown. There was little attention in missions given to on the abuse and slavery girls and women suffer, even as the research was emerging about violence against women and girls, showing that 70% of all slaves are female, and alarmingly, so are 99% of those who are enslaved for sex.
She Is Safe became a voice for abused and enslaved women and girls in the developing world. In 1995, living in Roswell, Georgia Michele began to pour herself into her calling and a clear vision “to see every at risk girl free from abuse and slavery – to become the women God called them to be”. The images and experiences of Africa were never far from her thoughts, as she connected with women and girls of the U.S., West Africa across the Middle East and Asia.
In 2002, She Is Safe was founded as a nonprofit organization by a team of praying friends around Michele’s clear vision to free and equip women and girls in the hardest places.
Michele and board member, Kay Strom’s award-winning InterVarsity Press books, Daughters of Hope and Forgotten Girls, began to open the eyes and hearts of people to join the cause to free and equip those who are most vulnerable to being trafficked.
Daniel Rickett, Ph.D., a founding board member of the nonprofit joined staff in 2006 as Executive Vice President for International Ministries, bringing his expertise in organizational development and cross-cultural ministry effectiveness to the growing international nonprofit.
Today She Is Safe, with a staff of 20, collaborates globally with indigenous churches and nonprofit organizations to prevent girls from being trafficked and abused by equipping them, their mothers and families with education, economic empowerment and spiritual development – while working to rescue and restore girls and women who are enslaved.
In the U.S., She Is Safe compiles and publishes current information to inform people about the crushing abuse and sale of girls and women. The nonprofit shares the latest information on the transformative impact equipped women and girls have on their families and communities – to seek freedom and dignity for emerging generations of girls and boys. She Is Safe helps students and families recognize the tricks of traffickers and speak up for those suffering exploitation. The ministry’s Advocacy Program equips people across the nation as passionate advocates and intercessors for best practice interventions.
The journey continues as She Is Safe constantly learns from innovative women and girls in the hardest places who, by God’s grace, are courageously shaping a future of freedom and faith that will go on multiplying workers and witnesses.