An attorney and strong advocate for victims’ rights, Monika Machen was looking for a volunteer opportunity in Chicago. After working on pro bono cases, including helping a political refugee seek asylum, she had a deepening interest in stopping human trafficking. “I was interested in trafficking issues abroad, but I wanted to be active and present in my role.”

Monika learned that CAASE was working locally on the issues of sex trafficking, and soon after helped organize a fundraiser for CAASE with the women’s group at her law firm. She joined the board and now co-chairs the fundraising committee.

She has enjoyed being part of a young and successful organization. “I’m impressed about what CAASE has been able to accomplish in a short period of time,” Monika said.

Monika is motivated by CAASE’s mission to hold perpetrators accountable. “If you look historically at how sex trafficking, sexual assault and prostitution are viewed, the victim is often blamed for what happened. “These old paradigms aren’t working,” she said.

“I feel good supporting CAASE because it’s addressing a societal harm that people don’t like to discuss or think about—the harms of buying sex. We live in a culture that allows victims to suffer greatly, while customers are rarely punished. CAASE is working to change that.”

Monika was also drawn to CAASE because of its focus on preventing harm through education. “I think it’s very important for society to be aware of this, and not to be embarrassed or ashamed to discuss it. We have to remove the taboo from this issue.”

Read more from the 2011 CAASE Annual Report here.