Saturday, November 3, 2012

Redemption in Old Vegas

The first day we landed in Vegas we had a meeting with one of Vegas' best, Detective Chris Baughman. 
Why is he one of the best? 
Well, Det. Baughman has made it his personal mission to do whatever it takes to rescue trafficked women from the streets of Las Vegas.  Along with his Lieutenant Karen Hughes and his fellow detectives Gethoefer and Beas, they form the P.I.T. Also known as the Pandering Investigative Team.  Together these men and this woman do their best to rid the streets of the evil men that abuse and enslave women across the city.  They are setting a precedent for other Vice units across the country and doing whatever it takes to make this a safer city.  If Las Vegas is safer, then it will eventually impact the entire world.

We met up with Detective Baughman at a popular cop cafe called "The Beat".  It was a hip little coffee shop on Fremont street which is located in what's known as Old Vegas. 
Old Vegas is also considered a 'track' which means it's an area known for a high rate of prostitution, drugs,  and other illegal activities.
The Beat serves up some tasty food and coffee.
I had the chicken salad sandwich.

We got to sit down with Det. Baughman for a candid Q & A.  We were really honored that he would take so much time out of his busy schedule to talk to us. 

Oh, you may be wondering how we knew of Det Baughman before we came.  Well, in preparation for this trip, it was recommended that we read the book he wrote.  That's right, not only is he beating down the bad guys, but he's writing books about his experiences to raise awareness of the truth about what's happening on the streets.
It is a fast read and it is riveting if you can handle the truth of these horrible crimes. The book is a bit graphic. However, it's because he doesn't sugar coat anything and he quotes his fellow detectives directly without cleaning up their language. So there are quite a few 'F' bombs to weed through.  But what you need to remember is that this is an actual, true story, a live account. The awful details he mentions really happened to a woman, and they happen to other women all over the world.   
Detective Baughman has written his second book already, which hasn't been released quite yet.  I believe he also said he was contracted for a third too.  So keep your eyes peeled.

I have so much respect for Detective Baughman and his team.  I am so thankful that they work so hard and sacrifice so much at their jobs.
Our group also had the privilege of meeting Lieutenant Karen Hughes.  She is a one of a kind woman.  She attended a prayer meeting that was hosted by FREE International. The purpose of the prayer meeting is to bring together various Christians and non-profits across the city for prayer over the issue of human trafficking both in Las Vegas and the rest of the world. This prayer group meets every Friday.
I was able to snapa paparazzi style picture of her Lt. Hughes.  Even though the interaction I had with her was brief, I was impressed with her compassion and genuineness. The burden she carries for this city and for the children and women in it was evident on her face.  Each time I had an occasion to look her way my eyes filled with tears.  Thankfully, I had an opportunity to give her a hug and try and offer some small measure of encouragement.

I would ask all of you to remember Det. Baughman and Lt. Hughes in your prayers. These people are the real deal. They are Christians, doing what it takes to "act justly, love mercy and walk humbly" and love others in Jesus name. They are on the front lines of the battle. I have no doubt they are all willing to lay down their life in order to save one of the enslaved and broken girls on the streets of their city.
There are some exciting things happening in Vegas. 
There are some really good people making it happen with God's help. You can help too by being prayer warriors for these street warriors. 
I know I'll be praying.

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