Whistleblower's tale has no Hollywood ending

Tue Aug 2, 2011 7:06pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - For whistleblower Kathy Bolkovac, life hasn't exactly turned out like it did for Erin Brockovich.

Some audiences seeing a new film, "The Whistleblower" based on former international law enforcement official Bolkovac, might think justice was served as she battled government organizations to expose human trafficking in Bosnia.

But others watching the movie, which opens in the United States on Friday, might think differently when they find out what happened to Bolkovac in the aftermath of her work, especially if comparing Bolkovac to Brockovich.

When Hollywood-backed "Erin Brockovich" hit theaters in 2000 with its tale of a real-life law clerk who took on giant U.S. utility Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the real Erin Brockovich found fame and fortune.

Bolkovac told Reuters she has been turned down for jobs at various police and security companies. She now works at an auctioneer of construction equipment in The Netherlands.

"I have a real life and a real job which I have to work really hard at," she said of her work at Richie Brothers Auctioneers. At night, she lobbies politicians to "try and keep my law enforcement background in there, because that's really who I am at heart -- a cop."

"The Whistleblower," which stars Rachel Weisz as Bolkovac, is based on her story as former policewoman from Nebraska who gets a job with the international peacekeeping force to rebuild post-war Bosnia in 1999. Once there, she exposes a crime ring that includes U.N. and U.S. State Department officers and is involved in holding girls aged 12- to 15-years-old as sex slaves and trafficking them throughout Eastern Europe.

The film also highlights wider issues, such as police corruption and problems with defense contractors hired to help fight wars or rebuild countries.   Continued...