"It's the reason that the first Christians came together," Becca Stevens says. "It's about healing in community, about women creating community together."
Stevens founded Thistle Farms more than two decades ago as a residential program for women who survived trafficking, prostitution and addiction. Now, the organization has branches all across the country, as well as a social justice enterprise run by survivors, a retail space and a cafe among other things.
"It makes me believe that love heals," says Stevens, who is also an ordained Episcopal priest. "That was my longing my whole life. My dad was a minister who died when I was little. I went through abuse at a pretty young age. And I think I've always longed to believe that communities could come together, and women could be safe, and we could help heal the world. And because of this work, I've gotten to live into that vision. Because of this work, I have a great lens by which to read the gospel.
"It makes me hopeful. It makes my faith joyful. It makes my faith grateful," she continues.
Stevens says she was abused from age 6 through age 9. Now, she uses her personal testimony to pour into others.
"When in our lives, brokenness turns into compassion, it's a powerful witness. It can really help form communities and form work. So I'm aware now that even in those horrible times, I was getting a lot of gifts for how I could serve people later and how my own healing would look through that service," Stevens says.
Listen to the podcast below, the second in Charisma News' "The Truth About Human Trafficking" series, for more of Stevens' story.
Read more from "The Truth About Human Trafficking":
You can also click here for other episodes.
To contact us or to submit an article, click here.
Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.