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The Whistleblower: Sex Trafficking, Military Contractors, and One Woman's Fight for Justice [Hardcover]

Kathryn Bolkovac , Cari Lynn
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 4 2011
When Nebraska police officer and divorced mother of three Kathryn Bolkovac saw a recruiting announcement for private military contractor DynCorp International, she applied and was hired. Good money, world travel, and the chance to help rebuild a war-torn country sounded like the perfect job. Bolkovac was shipped out to Bosnia, where DynCorp had been contracted to support the UN peacekeeping mission. She was assigned as a human rights investigator, heading the gender affairs unit. The lack of proper training provided sounded the first alarm bell, but once she arrived in Sarajevo, she found out that things were a lot worse. At great risk to her personal safety, she began to unravel the ugly truth about officers involved in human trafficking and forced prostitution and their connections to private mercenary contractors, the UN, and the U.S. State Department. After bringing this evidence to light, Bolkovac was demoted, felt threatened with bodily harm, was fired, and ultimately forced to flee the country under cover of darkness—bringing the incriminating documents with her. Thanks to the evidence she collected, she won a lawsuit against DynCorp, finally exposing them for what they had done. This is her story and the story of the women she helped achieve justice for.

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Review

“Kathy is a remarkable woman who had the courage to tell the truth and stand up for the victims of sex trafficking, putting her own life on the line. I was deeply moved by her story and hope her voice will be heard, raising awareness about the tragic consequences of war.”--Rachel Weisz

“Women and girls trafficked into Bosnia and Herzegovina's brothels endured debt bondage, rape, and beatings.  International police and peacekeeping forces should have protected these victims.  Instead, some committed trafficking crimes.  Kathy Bolkovac bravely blew the whistle on them.  She paid a high price in her career, but had the integrity to take a stand against grave human rights abuses.”-- Janet Walsh, Deputy Director, Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch

"Rape and forced prostitution perpetrated on a pervasive, ongoing scale by police, military, and other groups protected by regional and even national governments continue to occur into the 21st century.   Regrettably, and quite amazingly, these violent and degrading events do not receive the attention and universal condemnation that a civilized society should demand.   Kathryn Bolkovac and Cari Lynn have demonstrated great personal courage and admirable moral strength in addressing such egregious conduct in The Whistleblower.   A highly disturbing and fascinating expose based upon frightening real life experiences."--Dr. Cyril Wecht, nationally acclaimed forensic pathologist and author of Mortal Evidence

About the Author

Kathryn Bolkovac is a former police investigator from Nebraska who served as an International Police Task Force human rights investigator in Bosnia. She cooperated with Human Rights Watch to expose the misconduct and human rights abuses committed against young girls, forced into prostitution and used as sex slaves by U.S. military contractors such as DynCorp and other UN-related police and international organizations. She lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
 
Cari Lynn is the author of three books of narrative nonfiction, including Leg the Spread: A Woman’s Adventures Inside the Trillion-Dollar Boys Club of Commodities Trading. Lynn has written for numerous magazines and newspapers including O, Health, Good Housekeeping, and the Chicago Tribune. She lives in Los Angeles, CA.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top-notch expose of pathology in power Oct. 12 2011
By Harrison Koehli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Corruption isn't a unique or uncommon thing. It's the same in any country, whether war-torn and chaotic or nominally democratic. It's just easier in some places than others. But you can count on the corruptible to try, no matter what the conditions. It just so happened that the conditions in Bosnia, where ex-police-officer-then-DynCorp-contractor Kathryn Bolkovac was stationed in 1999. Not only was the country a mess, both socially and physically, but by the very nature of DynCorp's organization and function, chaos reigned supreme. Bolkovac, in telling the story of how she uncovered rampant crime, mismanagement, and arrogance among her fellow UN and DynCorp workers, only to be fired on non-existent evidence and then win a lawsuit for it, becoming a whistleblower in the process, gives some hints as to why this was the case.

Bolkovac is clear in thought that the very idea of corporations providing 'policing' is downright stupid. Corporations exist to make a profit, so if cutting corners and cooking the books will work, you can bet it'll be done. With DynCorp, it's no different. After 'winning the bid' to manage personnel in Bosnia after the war, they did everything they could to make money. That meant, skimping on transportation and services offered to their employees, delivering less than they advertised, overstaffing, taking payment on half-finished or never started projects, offering the barest of training. Basically one big racketeering operation. (There's also the speculation, pretty thinly veiled, that they were/are basically a front for covert military ops.)

Worst of all, this 'cost-benefit' approach to 'nation-building' meant that certain requirements were waived when hiring new recruits.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Whistleblowing Personified Feb. 10 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Anyone wondering why more wrongdoings aren't brought to light should read the book "The Whistleblower" by Kathryn Bolkovac with Cari Lynn. Methods of suppression by internationally recognized organizations are recounted in alarming detail. The entire gamut of tactics is revealed. Only a dedicated and committed whistleblower like Ms. Bolkovac has a chance of surviving. Yet, she did. If she can, so can others. Come on whistleblowers of the world, unite!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book! March 26 2012
By Annie
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Fantastic book! I also work for the United Nations and this was a very insightful story about the dangers a humanitarian worker faced when she uncovered a prostitution ring and denounced it. You can also check out the DVD movie of the same name which came out in early 2012. I couldn't put the book down!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  33 reviews
54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Been there. A lot! Jan. 6 2011
By Been there. A lot. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Gotopinions, your response kinda gives you away: you are one of the people involved in booting her out! Only one of them would actually be dumb enough to still call her a liar!
Hell, you might as well go ahead and call the Tribunal that heard her case a bunch of liars! Explain to me: why was the appeal dropped? I bet because DynCorp didn't wanna have the pot stirred any more then it already was.
I've been deployed a lot: people are getting called in to fix errors in their time sheets all the time! Nobody gets fired over that.
Except the woman who `coincidently' also blew the whistle... THAT, we can't have...!

It was about time that someone opened up this sh.. pit! Don't get me wrong: there is a whole lot of good people working for these contractors, but man, accountability when someone seriously screws up (as in: involved in real criminal activities!!) is far fetched! They might get sent home, yes. They might get fired, yes. But I have yet to hear of a case where people like that actually get prosecuted and sentenced for crimes committed abroad while working as a contractor. THAT, Ladies and Gentleman, is the real underlying problem!
Gotopinions, open your eyes and go home, before you get caught...

I suggest making this book mandatory reading for all of Capitol Hill, both sides of the aisle, and FIX IT!
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top-notch expose of pathology in power Oct. 12 2011
By Harrison Koehli - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Corruption isn't a unique or uncommon thing. It's the same in any country, whether war-torn and chaotic or nominally democratic. It's just easier in some places than others. But you can count on the corruptible to try, no matter what the conditions. It just so happened that the conditions in Bosnia, where ex-police-officer-then-DynCorp-contractor Kathryn Bolkovac was stationed in 1999. Not only was the country a mess, both socially and physically, but by the very nature of DynCorp's organization and function, chaos reigned supreme. Bolkovac, in telling the story of how she uncovered rampant crime, mismanagement, and arrogance among her fellow UN and DynCorp workers, only to be fired on non-existent evidence and then win a lawsuit for it, becoming a whistleblower in the process, gives some hints as to why this was the case.

Bolkovac is clear in thought that the very idea of corporations providing 'policing' is downright stupid. Corporations exist to make a profit, so if cutting corners and cooking the books will work, you can bet it'll be done. With DynCorp, it's no different. After 'winning the bid' to manage personnel in Bosnia after the war, they did everything they could to make money. That meant, skimping on transportation and services offered to their employees, delivering less than they advertised, overstaffing, taking payment on half-finished or never started projects, offering the barest of training. Basically one big racketeering operation. (There's also the speculation, pretty thinly veiled, that they were/are basically a front for covert military ops.)

Worst of all, this 'cost-benefit' approach to 'nation-building' meant that certain requirements were waived when hiring new recruits. As Bolkovac discovered, many had histories that, combined with other factors, were a recipe for disaster. As psychologists Robert Hare and Paul Babiak make clear in their book Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work, organizational chaos attracts corporate psychopaths like moths to the flame. And in a political climate like Bosnia, that was even more true. Then factor in the fact that contractors at the time had full immunity from the law... Additionally, DynCorp would get more money if there no "no incidents", providing the perfect incentive to cover up any. Talk about a perfect breeding ground for psychopathy! But hey, if DynCorp makes a buck, it's cool with them.

So what happened? Well, the Serbian mafia, in league with some of their democratic overseers, were discovered to be engaging in drugs, arms, and human trafficking - luring young women and girls into the country, where they found themselves in slavery, forced into prostitution and drug addiction. And the so-called 'men' taking advantage and raping these women were largely DynCorp contractors, UN workers, and other internationals working there. But don't fear, top officials had it under control. Once 'made aware' of the problem, they did all they could, namely: arresting the girls as 'prostitutes', shipping them back to their countries where many were immediately picked up by the mafia, sold into slavery once again, and turning a blind eye to the fact that so many of their employees were among the perps abusing them. Then there were the death threats to anyone threatening to expose the situation, and files conveniently 'lost'. A paltry few of the criminals were simply sent home, with no record. In other words, in DynCorp's bubble of pseudo-reality, there really were "no incidents".

One dynamic makes itself clear here: you can pretty much bet that those doing the cover-up, vehemently blockading any serious investigation, calling the victims "whores" who were "happy" to be doing what they were doing (and "working in the country illegally"), are engaging in the very crimes they're covering up. Top marks for brazen chutzpah goes to Dennis LaDucer, Bolkovac's deputy commissioner, not only had a history in the states of sexual abuse, he was caught in one of the brothels (one of the few to be dismissed and sent back to the States with no record for his crimes). Then there was local police that blocked one of Bolkovac's inquiries - he too was a regular. Needless to say, Bolkovac's attackers really come across as prime examples of 'corporate psychopaths'. Take J. Michael Stiers, who spearheaded her sacking: not only did he impugn the victims' credibility, but that of Bolkovac as well, demoting her from her position dealing with Human Rights on the grounds that she was "burned out" (for her own protection, you see, although he offered her no professional consultation). He, too, had a history in the States for sexual abuse. Seeing a pattern here? Here's what he said to Bolkovac: "In defense of any accused American monitor, I will most certainly attack the credibility of any person knowingly allowing herself to be illegally smuggled into the country." Somebody pass the vomit bag.

Even Bolkovac's UK tribunal called DynCorp's dealing with her "callous, spiteful and vindictive." As Dr. Andrew Lobaczewski writes in his book Political Ponerology, when psychopaths saturate groups like this, 'high ideals' (like 'democracy-building') become mere catchwords for something far more sinister.

So when you have a company that's prime motive is the mighty dollar, already self-selected for 'corporate' psychopaths, an 'open-door' policy for sexually abusive men, immunity from the law, in a country where corruption is already running strong, what do you think would happen?

Bolkovac should be praised for her part in exposing DynCorp's involvement in human trafficking. The book is well-written and captivating. Do check it out.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dramatic, chilling, well-written Jan. 5 2011
By Voracious Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is a real eye-opener. The amazing lack of accountability provides opportunistic private contractors with a well-paid position and access to illegal and unconscionable "perks." The vivid descriptions put the reader right in the middle of the action and reveals how difficult it is to try to do the right thing in a very bad situation. I can't wait to see the movie!
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful Jan. 4 2011
By Mansfield - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The private military contractor world is larger than the U.S. military and you don't have to look beyond major news headlines to know that there are serious problems. This book shines a light on what goes on behind the scenes and how some contractors view their missions as nothing more than Spring break with the highest paycheck they've ever seen.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, amazing read Jan. 10 2011
By Chi-TownDude - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Couldn't put this book down. Very well written. Knowing it's based on a true story makes it riveting. Thanks for sharing your story, wish all people had your integrity.
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