Kathryn Bolkovac functions on human being rights reports in her office in the Ilidza global Police Task force station in the early weeks the the United nations peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. (Courtesy photo)
Former Lincoln police officer Kathryn Bolkovac, who currently lives in the Netherlands, created a book, "The Whistleblower," about her experiences together a person right investigator in Bosnia.
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English actress Rachel Weisz portrays Kathryn Bolkovac in themovie "The Whistleblower." (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Kathryn Bolkovac was looking for adventure as soon as she left Lincolnin 1999 to join the United countries peacekeeping mission inBosnia.
Working together a member of the worldwide Police job Force, shefound young ladies from east European countries being lugged toBosnia as sex slaves to business the internationals who flooded thecountry ~ its brutal ethnic civil war.
Worse yet, Bolkovac unearthed evidence that members that the IPTF,who were employees the DynCorp, the contractor that provided thepolice for the peacekeeping force, and also people connected with theU.N. Were involved in the human trafficking.
As native of her investigation and findings filtered out,Bolkovac"s co-workers began hearing rumors the she would certainly beattacked to stop her indigenous revealing what she knew. She life, theybelieved, remained in danger.
"I had actually been threatened number of times," Bolkovac said. "I wastold, "Car mishaps happen every day. You should be cautious aboutwhat you"re doing and also what you"re saying." I came from a backgroundwhere I deserve to take treatment of myself. Because that me, it was an ext of apsychological intimidation, that i couldn"t to trust my kind."
Bolkovac was very first demoted, climate fired through DynCorp in 2001. Shefought her dismissal in an English court, using secret taperecordings she make of DynCorp officials threatening she to proveshe had actually been dismissed for she revelations, no for falsifying timesheets, which was the corporation"s reason for her firing.
Bolkovac"s book, "The Whistleblower: Sex Trafficking, MilitaryContractors and One Woman"s Fight because that Justice," recounts her story,a tale of crime, corruption and courage that inspired the movie "TheWhistleblower," i m sorry is reflecting this week in ~ the mar Riepma RossMedia arts Center.
"The book is completely factual," Bolkovac stated in a phoneinterview from new Mexico. "The movie is not completely factual.They"re law things roughly what happened. Also at the first of themovie (where she leaves Lincoln), that"s no what happened in mylife."
In the film, Bolkovac, play by English actress Rachel Weisz,is seen through her ex-husband and his brand-new wife, who are leavingLincoln and also taking her daughter v them. She then meets with thepolice chief around her decision come answer the ad from thecorporation; its name has been adjusted in the movie.
What really happened: "I had actually just been v a divorce," shesaid. "My youngsters were growing up, two of them were in college and theother to be 15," she said. "I had started my career late. Ns was 28when i started. I felt i was ready for an adventure. I wanted tobuild mine CV, and also I to be interested in global policing."
The job paid $85,000 taxes free, money that would certainly cover lot ofher children"s university expenses. She attempted to get a year"sleave native the Lincoln Police Department however was turned down. Shenonetheless signed on v DynCorp.
Sent to ft Worth, Texas, for a main of "training," whichamounted to little much more than corporate propaganda, Bolkovac got thefirst inkling that what she would certainly encounter in Bosnia.
"A man from Texas who had been to Bosnia before bounded right into thepool v a beer in his hand and also said the knew where to uncover reallynice 12- to 15-year-olds," she said. "I started taking mentalnotes. Ns thought, "This is tax dollars. I"m going to go speak to acongressman as soon as this is over.""
Once in Bosnia, Bolkovac found it didn"t matter much what shedid. Countless of the IPTF policemans spent the day driving or sittingaround act nothing and no one appeared upset. But she want to dosomething and got herself assigned to the person Rights Watch, "theonly department that did any type of work," she said.
After functioning with domestic abuse situations of ladies severely beatenby your husbands, a crime that had actually not been prosecuted in Bosnia,Bolkovac took component in a bust at a disk nightclub dubbed theFlorida, wherein she uncovered seven terrified young women huddled in aroom.
Lured right into Bosnia through the promise of high-paying work inhotels, the young ladies were compelled into prostitution and also sometimessold come internationals that took them come their residences to live as"girlfriends."
"It to be pretty simple," she said. "It was not being hidden. Itwas so the end in the open, you had actually to be blind no to see it going on.They had actually these brothels all over. They would call them restaurantsor bars. Where the internationals to be concentrated, thesebrothels would be anywhere the place."
In 6 months, Bolkovac met v 100 young women, plenty of of them15- come 18-year-old girls, that told she of your horrific captivity.They were repeated raped and beaten, ruined psychologically andphysically before being placed "out top top the floor" as prostitute withthe promise of getting to go house if castle earned enough money.
Some of the girls figured out internationals, including menconnected with DynCorp and the U.N., together their captors and abusers.Bolkovac had discovered organized crime in ~ its many disgusting amongst thepeacekeepers.
She ongoing to investigate. However she could not get superiors,who had a vested attention in protecting the U.N. And also DynCorp, toact on her findings.
Eventually, Bolkovac wrote an e-mail to around 50 missionofficials, both with the U.N. And also DynCorp, titled "DO NOT check out THISIF YOU have actually A WEAK STOMACH OR GUILTY CONSCIENCE."
In the email, she laid the end her findings, illustration a distinctionbetween a prostitute, that willingly sells she body because that sex, and thevictims the trafficking, arguing that "this is significant organizedcrime, making large amounts the money in this country."
"I wrote an email," she said. "I was fed up with it. It"s theinfamous email that to be decreed as my protected declaration."
In April 2001, she to be accused that falsifying she time sheets andfired. She admits to lacking a day of occupational when she and a number ofother internationals, consisting of the head of the mission, could notget back to Bosnia because of poor weather, yet did notintentionally falsify any documents.
She left Bosnia because that the Amsterdam home of january G. H. Van DerVelde, a netherlands officer she met in Bosnia and also to who she is nowmarried.
"I continued to be in the mission as long as i could, got my records andgot out," Bolkovac said. "When I got to Jan"s residence in theNetherlands, that"s where it struggle me. Ns slept for a week, cried alot. Ns was nice fragile. However I eventually made decision this is mychallenge, mine calling."
Bolkovac, who was born in Ohio, relocated to Nebraska when she wasin the fourth grade. She went to the university of Houston top top avolleyball scholarship, then went back to Nebraska to start herfamily. At age 28, she witnessed an ad in the newspaper Star feather forpolice officers.
"Being a Midwest girl, growing up in and also around Lincoln, had actually alot to perform with it," she said. "I had a feeling of a moral foundationand a sense of principles that police police officers are an alleged to it is in good.My strength of personality from my upbringing, indigenous the means myparents increased me to wake up for what I believe in and speak up,carried me through Bosnia."
Additionally, she said, functioning in Lincoln through its progressivepolice room is what offered her the investigative skills andunderstanding of ideal police work that to adjust the groundwork forher Bosnian investigations.
After the 2002 trial, Bolkovac showed up in number of documentaryfilms and received several supplies to do a function film around herstory. She turned lock down till a couple of Columbia Universityfilm college graduates approached her around doing a movie. Theyreminded her of she children, she said, and she agreed they coulddo the movie, signing off on the task for $100.
The aspiring filmmakers asked why she hadn"t composed a book,prompting Bolkovac to compose a 650-page manuscript. She gave a copyto the filmmakers, then placed the publication on the shelf.
As it came to be clear that a film motivated by she story and also bookwould be made, Bolkovac gained a publication deal and also a co-author and also trimmedthe lengthy manuscript into a 240-page book, which was releasedearlier this year.
In 2009, Bolkovac visited Romania, where "The Whistleblower" wasbeing shot, watched the filming and met v Weisz, a small,dark-haired woman who doesn"t at every resemble the blonde formervolleyball player she plays.
""You in ~ least might have offered her a Kevlar vest to offer hersome bulk,"" Bolkovac called the filmmakers. "I"m a small biggerthan that."
That said, Bolkovac said that she speak at length with Weisz,who won an Oscar because that "The consistent Gardener," about what she hadgone through in Bosnia. Throughout the filming, the actress would askher just how she would have reacted in the instances being portrayed oncamera.
"She really want to acquire the heart and soul and also passion,"Bolkovac said. "It"s really difficult. I think I"m a difficultperson come portray. My children would absolutely say i am."
Bolkovac first saw "The Whistleblower" once it debuted in ~ theToronto movie Festival critical year and also has watched it a handful oftimes since. She will check out the movie again Thursday in ~ Ross.
By chance, Bolkovac, who now lives in the south of theNetherlands, was to it is in in Kansas City this weekend for a familywedding. She arranged her schedule to come to Lincoln because that thescreening, which will be adhered to by a question-and-answer sessionand, if publications arrive in time, a book signing.
"I"d to be praying that would come to Lincoln," she said. "Itplayed Omaha quite some time ago. I"d been questioning them to shot toget it come Lincoln. Two days prior to I left, I uncovered out it was goingto be play at the Ross. I"m happy it"s showing there, whereby I"mfrom."
"I shot not come think about it day to day," she said. "It"s likebeing a cop. That brings back the time, the reality of it. You try toremove you yourself from it. It"s been a really difficult 12 years."
Those 12 years included the court case, which had actually to be broughtin England, wherein DynCorp registered its rent-a-cop division,avoiding U.S. Law and also lawsuits. She received 110,000 English poundsfrom the lawsuit, around $175,000 in ~ the time. One-third the thatwent to her attorney, and also one-third to cover credit card receipt runup during the trial.
But she was without a job and had few prospects. She couldn"treturn to police work in the U.S. Without re-entering a policeacademy and beginning again together a street officer -- other didn"twant to do in her 40s.
Her efforts to acquire an worldwide policing place werestonewalled, for reasons she believes are obvious. "I think I"mpretty qualified," she said.
She make the efforts nursing and spent three years in college beforedeciding the wasn"t because that her. She currently works because that the europe officeof Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, an global auction residence thatspecializes in sales of heavy equipment and trucks, which has actually anoffice in Lincoln.
Bolkovac stated she"ll likely stay in the Netherlands until sheretires. Climate she really hopes to go back to Lincoln, wherein her childrenlive, or to brand-new Mexico, where her parents retired and also she has actually someproperty.
No matter where she is, she said, she will proceed to fight foraccountability for worldwide contractors and also their employees.She"s urging world to marshal support for a bill in congress --the Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction action -- that would bringinternational State department contractors and their employeesunder U.S. Law.
"I"m dedicated to it," Bolkovac said. "I feel choose it"s mysocial responsibility. I"m constantly going to be a cop at heart. I"mnever going come make any kind of money off of it. It"s a job of love and,to be honest, revenge. I"m a mandrel in the next of DynCorp. I"m notgoing away."
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In 1999, former Lincoln police investigator Kathryn Bolkovac went to job-related in Bosnia as an employee that a private contractor because that the joined Nations. Not long after, she uncovered evidence of person sex trafficking by federal government contractors and sought to carry those actions come light. Her story later ended up being the subject of a book and a film, “The Whistleblower,” starring Rachel Weisz.
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Kathryn Bolkovac functions on person rights reports in her office in the Ilidza worldwide Police Task pressure station in the at an early stage weeks the the United countries peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. (Courtesy photo)
Former Lincoln police officer Kathryn Bolkovac, who currently lives in the Netherlands, created a book, "The Whistleblower," around her experiences as a person right investigator in Bosnia.
English actress Rachel Weisz portrays Kathryn Bolkovac in themovie "The Whistleblower." (Samuel Goldwyn Films)