Unique program helps women escape streets, transform lives

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Story highlights

Becca Stevens has dedicated her life to helping women escape prostitution, addiction and trafficking.

Thistle Farms, a nonprofit, allows marginalized women to stay at residential centers for two years at no cost

Stevens was honored as a 2016 Top 10 CNN Hero | Tribute Show video

Nashville, Tennessee CNN  — 

Many cities have one: an ugly stretch of road lined with cheap motels, dollar stores and liquor marts.

Often, women and girls are also part of the landscape, selling their bodies at strip clubs or on the streets.

In Nashville, one such area exists on Dickerson Pike. It’s a tough environment, where even the weeds pushing up through the concrete – thistles – have thorns.

Many of the women who have walked this road are hardened by a life of abuse and addiction.

Becca Stevens says surviving childhood abuse gave her 'a lot of compassion' for marginalized women.

Caught in a struggle for survival, they can’t see a way out.

That’s where Becca Stevens steps in. For nearly 20 years, Stevens has dedicated her life to helping women escape prostitution, addiction and trafficking – and providing a place for them to heal.