Lotus girls are prostitutes. A woman can either become a lotus girl through personal choice, as a means of making money, or she has the label forced upon her as a result of being violated. In either case, being a lotus girl on the street is dangerous. A lotus girl can no longer function as a respectable member of society and it is normal for them to be treated as no better than dog shit. Many women who are lotus girls by choice end up in an even worse state, as there are no laws to protect them, and there are many unscrupulous (some would say evil) men who are happy to take advantage of this, as there will be no consequences for them. Therefore, they can rape and murder with impunity.
The more fortunate lotus girls find their way to the Lotus Blossom Palace run by Madam Wong. Here, they are treated as human beings, worthy of respect, and are fiercely protected. Not all cropships have a brothel, however, and the lotus girls of the Lotus Blossom Palace are painfully aware of how privileged they are.