LAS VEGAS – Det. Chris Baughman didn’t set out to be a police detective, but as a kid growing up in the rougher parts of Las Vegas, he saw crimes no child should experience. Now, as a member of an elite squad of detectives, Baughman tracks down men who traffic women and lure them into lives of prostitution, abuse and hopelessness. In his first book, “Off the Street,” Baughman tells the story of the case that two years ago launched the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Pandering Investigation Team, which already has been the inspiration for a “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” episode as well as a story on “Dateline NBC.”
Las Vegasis a hub and one of the top destinations in the country for human trafficking, and the Pandering Investigation Team tracks, arrests and fights to prosecute some ofClarkCounty’s most violent, yet wealthy criminals, including pimps and others involved in the trafficking of human lives for monetary gain.
“Our nation is under fire. There is a war going on beneath the surface of our city. The prize? The lives and futures of our daughters,” Baughman said. “These men trick, lie and coerce women into lives of prostitution through promises of love and wealth. We as a society have been led to believe that many of the women involved in this lifestyle make a conscious decision to do so. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In this world violence and degradation are commonplace. The women have become no more than commodities.”
Originally titled “Anomaly,” “Off the Street,” chronicles Baughman and his team’s investigation and the eventual take down of a notorious pimp who is now serving time in prison for his crimes. Just like his move into law enforcement, Baughman’s recent hobby as an author turned professional by chance.
Baughman was urged to write a book about his experiences and attended a writer’s conference inLa Jolla,Calif.for guidance. An agent saw his work, decided to represent him – unheard of for an inexperienced author – and found Behler Publications, a nationwide publisher. Since then, Baughman has received national attention for a book that won’t be released until Sept. 1.
“It’s overwhelming, the amount of attention the book is generating already,” Baughman said. “But at the same time, I’m excited for everyone to read about what goes on in every major city across the country and raise awareness. AlthoughLas Vegasis theMeccaof human trafficking, it isn’t a problem unique to this city. These women are your neighbors and sisters and daughters. We’re running out of time. Every day, another woman gets sucked into this mess.”
For more information on “Off the Street,” visit Behler Publications’ website.