A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Detective Christopher Baughman of the Las Vegas Police Department in person and chatting with him about his book, “Off the Street.” (to be released September 2011). You see Detective Baughman is the lead for the Las Vegas PD’s Pandering Investigation Team, part of Las Vegas Vice, and his book details the team’s first case. His mild manner belays his internal fire to protect those who are unable to protect themselves. Our discussion ranged from technologies described in his book, to human trafficking situation in Las Vegas where literally hundreds of vulnerable children and adults are manipulated into the sex trade. I also asked his permission to share the review pre-publication, to which he agreed.
The slogan is “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” suggesting that a bit of naughtiness is acceptable when visiting or living in today’s Las Vegas. Perhaps the slogan should be “What happens in Vegas has a seedy underbelly, can you see it?” In Detective Christopher Baughman’s “Off the Street” the reader does just that, you see it. In this first-person account, the reader is taken into Baughman’s background, you meet his mentors, you experience his passion for keeping the city safe and you are walked through a criminal case which exemplifies the difficulty facing law enforcement in Las Vegas (and no doubt replicated across the nation) as they address the human flesh market. As those who are familiar with my writing, Human Trafficking: Children in Nevada (Sex Trafficking) the likelihood is high of a homeless teen or adult finding their way into Las Vegas without means will be scooped up by the organized criminal element and the network of pimps which exist within the city. This book details how the criminal manipulates and ultimately controls – some would say enslave – women as they are forced into the sex trade. Unlike drugs or stolen goods which can be sold only one time, the enslaved woman or child can be sold multiple times every day. These miscreants know that once they have the psychological control of their victim – be it fear of family being injured or the victim experiencing direct physical harm, the probabilities of the victim coming forward and raising their voice detailing their situation is somewhere between slim and none.
In “Off the Street”, Baughman successfully demonstrates how trust and respect are the ultimate weapons which can pierce through the criminal’s control over their victims, their families and their friends. The criminal’s methods of safeguarding their assets/monies and the tools available to law enforcement to take those assets out of the criminal’s hands are excellent reads and should serve to provide a template for every reader to recognize when an activity isn’t quite up-to-snuff. In sum, Las Vegas can be and is an enjoyable city, largely due to the good works of Detective Chris Baughman and his many colleagues within the Las Vegas Police Department. Visit Las Vegas, avoid the criminal elements and do report to law enforcement any suspicions of the exploitation of individuals, male or female, minor children or adults.