I'm leaving Japan today, after a three month stay that has been a truly extraordinary experience. The title of this post has nothing at all to do with that experience, except that I stayed at the hotel near Tsukuba Station last night, and I'm a bit hungry for English language news, so I turned on CNN. Mistake. First of all, the news is dreadful... the American political cycle is charging up, and it is too ugly to behold. But even THAT, reason for cynicism that it is, is not what this post is about. It is CNN's so called Campaign for Freedom -- their battle against the modern slavery -- sexual exploitation.
Let me be clear that I am not writing in support of such exploitation, and in fact, I would be inclined to applaud CNN's position -- Shining light on this dreadful expression of the human condition is the first and most important step that can be taken to address the problem.
What, then, is my complaint? The self-aggrandising tone of their adverts on the subject reek of hypocrisy and promotion more than genuine desire to fix the problem. "We won't leave until they [the victims] can" is their tag line. Oh really?
Raise your hand if you believe that this sort of exploitation is truly going to disappear as a result of CNN's efforts? I do not suggest that inaction in the face of the intractable is the right course. Not at all. The victims of such heinous exploitation deserve earnest systematic effort, and some of them will benefit. But forgive me if I am skeptical about their staying power, or even their motives. It won't be hard for CNN to crank out a regular series of feel-good stories that they help to make happen, and not make the smallest dent in the real problem, which lives largely, I suspect, in complicit governments awash in poverty.
One of these days, CNN will tire of this particular campaign, and launch another... who knows... maybe to end war as we know it? No one has tried that one for a few years. I'm guessing there will still be a few victims around that can't leave.
Izu snail. easy does it