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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Whistleblower

This week's movie rental was the 2010 film The Whistleblower. I'd wanted to see it because it's set in Bosnia and I have a couple of past posts that touch on that locale .... Sarajevo Haggadah and Aloysius Stepinac - a bad example. The movie stars Rachel Weisz, Monica Bellucci, David Strathairn, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Vanessa Redgrave and is directed by Larysa Kondracki. It fictionalizes the actual experience of Kathryn Bolkovac, an American former police investigator who worked as a U.N. International Police Force monitor in post-war Bosnia, who uncovered ....

a wide-scale sexual slavery and human-trafficking ring that various international personnel, including that of the U.S., have participated in. Furthermore, when she brings the scandal to the attention of the U.N., she discovers that they have covered it up in order to prevent any more war in the country.

Someone asked me once why I've never posted anything about human trafficking on the blog (except for JC Murray SJ and the victims of human trafficking). I think I said it was just that I'd not been especially interested in the subject, but watching this movie made me realize the actual reason is that the subject makes me feel like throwing up. The movie is truly harrowing.

Roger Ebert gave the R rated film three and a half stars out of four. Here's just the beginning of his review ....

Here is a film to fill you with rage. It is based on the true story of Kathryn Bolkovac, a police officer from Lincoln, Neb., who accepted an offer to join the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. While there, she uncovered direct evidence that underage girls were being held captive and bought and sold in a profitable sex trafficking operation. When she presented her evidence to her superiors, it was ignored. When she persisted, she was fired.

There is more. The American private security firm, DynCorp International, whose operatives committed these crimes and tried to cover them up, is still employed by the U.S. government in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was used in Louisiana after Katrina. Although its activities were at the center of Bolkovac's report, she found that local police and U.N. peacekeepers themselves were also deeply involved.

Although "The Whistleblower" is a fictional film, these facts were supported by a British labor tribunal that investigated her claim against DynCorp, finding the corporation's defense "completely unbelievable." That high officials in the U.N. Human Rights Commission also were aware of the sex trafficking is unbelievable to me ....

Here's a trailer ....


Anonymous Henry said...

Hi Crystal - I haven't seen the movie but probably will. Another movie that touched on it was "Taken" - have you seen it?

Unfortunately, there's very little awareness of how immense a problem "human trafficking" is. Many agencies/governments are aware of it but they seem to give it a pass. (I can understand why because it is sickening and few of human beings have the stomach to actually face evil when it presents itself in reality rather than as some abstract theory).

Since many female babies are aborted in certain parts of the world precisely because they are females, I suspect that "human trafficking" is probably, sadly, going to increase! I hope I am wrong but I suspect I am not.


4:24 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Henry,

No, I haven't seen Taken. Was that the one with Liam Neeson?

It's true - it's hard to look at the sunject. I have to admit I didn't finish watching the movie because it was so upsetting. But governments should be doing something. I wonder if Hilary Clinton has spoken about it - must look around.

12:40 PM  

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