I first learned about human trafficking my freshman year of high school and ever since I had wanted to do something to help the victims. Well, now as a sophomore in college, me and few peers have been given that opportunity through the KAPCO Charitable Challenge. Because of this challenge, we got into contact with a women named Rachel Monaco-Wilcox who is the CEO and founder of LOTUS Legal Clinic and we received the privilege of meeting with her and hearing her story of how LOTUS came to be and what it was doing to help victims of human trafficking is nothing short of amazing.
Here is a short description of LOTUS: "LOTUS is a victim's rights legal clinic in Wisconsin. LOTUS stands for Legal Options for Trafficked and Underserved Survivors. We create change for crime victims by protecting rights, empowering survivors, changing laws and policies, educating, and providing legal advice."
Many of the people LOTUS helps are those who are involved in case persecuting their pimps and in the process of being a witness, they admit to the crimes they committed due to being trafficked by their pimp. Many of these women have criminal histories because of their experience as a victim of human trafficking so getting a job becomes difficult and most of the time, they are unable to get a job that will support them or has benefits. One aspect of LOTUS is helping in the legal process of removing these crimes from their records because of the fact that they were being trafficked.
Rachel told me team and an incredible story of this, which I want to share with you. A survivor of human trafficking came to LOTUS to receive help in finding a job. They went through the legal process and then, a while later, Rachel received a call from someone asking if Rachel knew of any people to interview and hire for a position. Rachel suggested the woman who had come to her earlier and that woman now has a job with that company and Rachel says that the woman has found her passion, and this wouldn't have been possible without LOTUS.
LOTUS also has a scholarship fund to help survivors that are going back to school and they are working to change laws and policies to help aid the victims and survivors of human trafficking. LOTUS even organizes a writing workshop for the women which is intensive and results in amazing pieces of literary work, whether it is poetry, fiction, or memoir/nonfiction. Then this pieces are sent to an arts organization where high school students create response pieces to the work and everything that has been created is held in a spring showcase.
These are only a few of the many amazing things that LOTUS does for those who are victims and survivors of human trafficking. If you want more information on LOTUS or want to get in contact with someone, check our their page!