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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Whistleblower

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

As the war in Bosnia was winding down in 1999 and the country transitioning to peace, the UN had a multinational police force in place, mostly to observe. These were peacekeepers who came from the national police forces of various countries. Because the US does not have national police Kathryn Bolkovak (Rachel Weisz) takes a big salary job for a year as a UN peacekeeper or observer, but she is actually hired by a US military corporation (DynCorp is the actual private military company, but is called another name in the film; DynCorp has billions of dollars in contracts from the U.S. government, then and now).
 
Kathy becomes involved in bringing a domestic dispute to trial and the UN asks her to head up their office for gender and domestic abuse affairs. When she is called to help a seriously injured young woman she discovers that the peacekeepers take “these” women to a shelter and consider them “just prostitutes.”
 
Then Kathy learns of a bar in the mountains and leads a raid to rescue several girls. Kathy sees pitiful living conditions, chains and photos of girls being abused or worse. There are UN personnel in some of the photos, and one is an American.
 
As Kathy tries to collect evidence to prosecute offenders and repatriate these now stateless women, she comes face to face with the reality of human trafficking for sex.  The perpetrators she identifies are suddenly sent home. She sends an email to the UN High Command and is dismissed from her job.
 
Solid supporting roles by Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci and David Strathairn.
 
“The Whistleblower” is not an easy film to watch. Human trafficking films such as “Trade” (2007)  are very difficult to watch, yet they pull away the shades covering up human misery that we really do not want to know about.  Mira Sorvino starred in the 2005 Lifetime miniseries on TV, “Human Trafficking” and NBC’s Dateline has done investigative reporting on children and the sex trade.
 
But then, what are we to do?
 
C.A.S.T., the coalition for the abolition of slavery and trade, sponsored the screening I attended. It is one such group that educates, advocates for legislation, and provides shelter and immigration services to women and children who are able to escape from bondage – and we are talking Los Angeles, CA. Visit www.CASTLA.org for more information. And for a quietly powerful interview by Charlie Rose with Rachael Weisz and the real Kathy Bolkovac, go to http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11815.


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Mary Angela Truszkowska: Today we honor a woman who submitted to God's will throughout her life—a life filled with pain and suffering. 
<p>Born in 1825 in central Poland and baptized Sophia, she contracted tuberculosis as a young girl. The forced period of convalescence gave her ample time for reflection. Sophia felt called to serve God by working with the poor, including street children and the elderly homeless in Warsaw's slums. In time, her cousin joined her in the work. </p><p>In 1855, the two women made private vows and consecrated themselves to the Blessed Mother. New followers joined them. Within two years they formed a new congregation, which came to be known as the Felician Sisters. As their numbers grew, so did their work, and so did the pressures on Mother Angela (the new name Sophia took in religious life). </p><p>Mother Angela served as superior for many years until ill health forced her to resign at the age of 44. She watched the order grow and expand, including missions to the United States among the sons and daughters of Polish immigrants. </p><p>Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1993.</p> American Catholic Blog I truly seek a very solitary, simple and primitive life with no labels attached. However, there must be love in it, and not an abstract love but a real love for real people.

 
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