Ban confronts a sordid chapter in U.N.’s history

Colum Lynch

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently sat down with some of his senior advisors to watch The Whistleblower, a controversial new film that depicts U.N. peacekeepers as participants in the illicit sex trade in Bosnia.

Ban said he was "saddened" by the role of U.N. blue helmets in abuses linked to sex trafficking, the illicit trade which continues to be "a blight on humanity and our conscience," according to a copy of the confidential letter Ban sent to the film’s director, and obtained by Turtle Bay.

The new movie, starring Rachel Weisz and Vanessa Redgrave, is inspired by the real-life story of Kathryn Bolkovac (played by Weisz), a Nebraska cop who served as a U.N. police officer in Bosnia in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Bolkovac claimed she was forced out of the United Nations after uncovering evidence of U.N. participation in prostitution with trafficked women, a claim the U.N. disputed at the time.

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