The Whistleblower

I watched The Whistleblower last night. It is inspired by a true story of a police woman, Kathryn Bolkovac from Nebraska who was sent to Bosnia following the ethnic wars as part of international peacekeeping missions via the UN. In the process of her work, she uncovers a scandal of human trafficking. Young girls from Russia and other countries being sold to pimps for sex and sodomy. And the worst part is, the so-called peacekeepers from the US and other countries are involved not just in prostitution but in the trafficking of these girls. The more she uncovers, the more her life is in danger. And the more she puts her job at stake.

This was an incredible movie. And very disturbing given that it was inspired by true events. Rachel Weisz was brilliant and totally believeable. Apparently, these peacekeepers were hired by contract agencies through the UN. And apparently, similar agencies continue to send peacekeepers to Iraq and Afghanistan in the last few years. Which begs the question — is this continuing to happen? Kathryn Bolkovac put her life at risk to help these young girls. But diplomatic immunity helps prevent the international perpetrators from being prosecuted. And it’s scary to think how many people were involved in this.

Human trafficking is an illegal and organised crime. It is second only in the world to illegal drug trafficking. Yet, how many people know about it compared to drugs? And corruption still appears to be rife world over. It’s scary when you think about what power can do to people. It almost makes one lose faith in humanity. And definitely makes you more cynical!

The movie stayed with me long after. I am still getting intrusive images. And I couldn’t stop crying. I don’t think it was just me though…I noticed another woman in tears outside the movie hall. It is a difficult one to watch. But one I would recommend. If only to have an understanding of what goes on out there in the real world. Away from our little safe bubbles.

Hats off to individuals like Kathryn Bolkovac. Who stand up for morality and humanity. Against all the odds.

We need more people like her.

Until next time,


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  • Abhishek Sikdar
    3 October 2011 at 4:03 am

    Saw the movie several weeks back. I was strung for a long time after I was done with it. Shook me.

  • Abhishek Sikdar
    3 October 2011 at 4:04 am

    Saw the movie a few weeks ago. I was shaken by it for quite a long time. Excellently made movie.

  • Psych Babbler
    3 October 2011 at 4:16 am

    Tell me about it Abhishek! Was similarly shaken here. Did you think it was interesting that the movie wasn’t produced by a big movie production company (e.g. Warner Bros or 20th Century Fox or any of the others) but instead a relatively unknown one? I thought that said a lot in terms of the final outcome for her and the individuals involved in this.

  • Prathama Raghavan
    3 October 2011 at 6:12 am

    Goose bumps all the way reading your post…
    Unfortunately movies such as these go unnoticed when you live where I live. Didn’t know it released.
    Will look out for it for sure. Thanks.

    Development work in conflict and other developing nations seems like a farce to me another machine that makes the rich richer. I used to work for a small French NGO in Nepal and I have had so many disgusting experiences with the UN.  The Haiti situation for ex. was a horror story – The UN employees were living on cruises that were parked on the harbour and apparently the rent for the cruises and their parking space accounted for 75% of the aid that was designated for Haiti. One of my colleagues went there to evaluate a project and this is what she discovered.

    Reality today doesn’t help beat the cynic in me!

  • Jake
    3 October 2011 at 8:25 am

    Will watch this movie for sure now… not really surprised through, I’ve always hated the U.N and all the other “peace keeping” organisations. They are just a smoke screen for the united states to push people around and make sure their national interest is met at any cost, they wouldn’t hesitate to go to war to make money, is it any wonder they will resort to human trafficking ?

  • Jake
    3 October 2011 at 8:40 am

    The big studios WILL NOT make movies which are anti-american psych, they will only invest in swill that promotes the american rules message. How else will they keep the public in the dark about this stuff ?, keep them drugged with reality T.V , sugar pop and celebrity gossip.

  • Kunal
    3 October 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I haven’t yet watched this movie yet…but..there have been several films based on human trafficking..I tend to think, that since the film was based on true events and was made by a relatively unknown film maker, the depiction of the events would have been mostly true..without trying to over dramatize and trying too hard…its content spoke itself..and handling of this tricky issue connected with the audience in a better way…Unfortunately, we need a lot of people like her, if we have any hope to handle this menace.

    Have you watched ‘Trade’ starring Kevin Kline? You may like this one too!

  • Renu
    3 October 2011 at 12:04 pm

    its so scary to even read this, what would those women must feel and go thru..I cant understand how could anyone be cruel enough to enjoy money earned thru this..

  • Priyanka Victor
    3 October 2011 at 2:03 pm

    *reads post, reads comments – opens new tab to download movie*
    Be back AFTER I watch.

  • Titaxy
    3 October 2011 at 2:16 pm

    will watch the movie.

  • adayinlifeofmom
    3 October 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I haven’t watched this movie and I’m going to put it on my list..
    When I had watched Changeling, I was very disturbed and kept thinking about it and comparing it with Nithari case..

  • Rahulbhatia
    4 October 2011 at 7:30 am

    Anything disturbing usually stays with us for a while! True, there is still  a lot to be done to make this a better world!

  • Aditya Kasavaraju
    4 October 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Thanks. I shall watch this movie soon. Arms, Drugs,Human trafficking and Religion are prime money rollers of the world sadly 🙁

  • Psych Babbler
    7 October 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Have to admit Jake, my knowledge on this is very limited! I think I have forgotten what I’ve learnt at school as well.

  • Priyanka Victor
    2 November 2011 at 11:24 am

    OMG OMG, I watched the movie and I was so…. depressed-_- I’m never watching it again, it does scary things to my psyche.

    How can people do that to fellow human beings. So callous. And such young girls. Even watching them made me feel violated.
    I can’t even imagine the pain, the fear they must live in, makes me thank God twice everyday for all that He has given me. Selfish, I know.

    And she was so goddamn brave, she was one of the ONLY TWO women there and the other one was spineless and of no help. But YET she chose to go ahead.

    My heart almost stopped when Philip(?) backstabbed her. I really thought that there was no justice left, even in movies. But I sighed in relief in the next few scenes.

    They said at the end that she’s finding it difficult to find a job. I hope she was reunited with her daughter and they are fine now. She’s found a place in my prayers.

    All this makes me wonder how many other stories like this happen without us ever even knowing about it. How much intense suffering like this escapes the materialistic eyes of the world.

    P.S: I am the huge-st fan of Weisz now. 
    Thank you for the recommendation.
    It changed my life a little bit.

  • Psych Babbler
    2 November 2011 at 9:50 pm

    PeeVee, you have written most of what I went through and thought about! And yes, I was shocked too when whatshisname backstabbed her and thought you’ve got to be kidding me! Isn’t there anyone we can trust in the world?! I too felt violated especially in one or two scenes and we have to thank our stars we are in a better place. I know what you mean when you say it sounds like we are being selfish but we need to be grateful. At the same time, my heart goes out to all the young girls and women out there who experience this. Here in Aus where prostitution is legal, there are still young women mostly from Asian countries in brothels run by Asians who are sucked into trafficking with promises of residency and visas and the like. After watching the movie, I also saw a Four Corners investigation into human trafficking right here. Unfortunately some of the traffickers operate from China and other Asian countries making it harder to stop the web of crime…
    While the movie is depressing and scary and yes, one that we probably won’t watch again, I think it does have an impact on our lives…

  • Priyanka Victor
    5 November 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I feel so helpless. Like I’m not of any use. So many bad things happening in the world and nothing I can do.

  • Psych Babbler
    6 November 2011 at 4:57 am

    Tell me about it PeeVee…I used to feel a lot like that and even now I tend to…but then, I don’t think I have the drive to be capable of doing something big. I have resorted to thinking that I can make small changes as I come across things in my life rather than the big stuff…don’t get me wrong, I’d love to make a change in a big way but I doubt I can.