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Sunday, February 17 , 2019, 4:38 pm | Partly Cloudy 55º

 
 
 

Cinema in Focus: ‘Whistleblower’ Takes Dark Look at Human Sex Trafficking

Film provides glimpse of courage and compassion while exposing arrogance and inhumanity

3 Stars — Disturbing

When innocent people are abused by the very people who are responsible to protect them, then evil has won. This is the situation in the days following the Bosnian War in the 1990s. Because of a deep racial and nationalistic hatred that made peace difficult, the United Nations contracted with a private company to provide monitors watching over the police. But instead, the mercenaries this company hired became a part of the trafficking of young girls into sexual slavery. Based on actual events, this story was written by Larysa Kondracki and Eilis Kirwan with Kondracki directing Whistleblower.

The story is about Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz), a Nebraska police officer whose divorce caused her to desperately need money so she could move near her children. Finding no other way, Bolkovac took a lucrative position with the Democro Corp., (a pseudonym for the real life CynCorp) whose billion-dollar contract is to provide a professional police presence in the war-torn nation. But what Bolkovac soon discovers is that something is terribly wrong. The Democro officers have become a part of a brutal human trafficking business in which young teen girls are violently abused.

Having distinguished herself for successfully prosecuting the first domestic violence case in the Moslem community, Bolkovac becomes the director of gender cases for the United Nations. When two young girls escape and seek refuge, Bolkovac discovers the horrendous sex trafficking and Democro involvement. We won’t spoil the intrigue of what happens next except to say that the violence is not for the sensitive viewer and the “R” rating is deserved.

The courage and compassion with which Bolkovac faced this situation was only matched by the arrogance of diplomatic immunity, the complicity of corporate greed and the inhumanity of the sex traffickers. When the film declares as a post script that more than 2.5 million girls are sex slaves today, it is clear that we all need to step up and expose the evil that is being done against these young women. In a way that is more than a cliché, the entire world is truly one community, and what happens in Bosnia or any other nation happens to us. We must have the courage and compassion to do something to this indescribable evil.

Discussion:

» Such organizations as Not For Sale are working to stop all aspects of the evil of slavery. Are you involved in solving this horrendous inhumanity?

» The distorted sexuality that enjoys violence and humiliation toward women is only the next step up from the objectifying of women in pornography. What do you believe we should do to end this degrading of women by men? Do you believe such a film as this will make an impact?

» Although this film is based on an actual event that needs to be exposed, it is difficult to watch and will probably not have a large audience. What would you do to present the horror of the trafficking of young girls for sex that could reach more people?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com.

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