A survivor’s graphic memoir and a feature film reveal horrific exploitation and violence on the high seas – and the shame of the world’s complicity
In 2006, a young Cambodian sculptor, Vannak Anan Prum, left his village to look for labouring work. He needed to earn enough money to pay for his wife Sokun’s impending hospital stay to give birth to their first child. He intended to be away for two months.
He would not see his wife again for five years. After a middleman on the Thai-Cambodian border promised he could earn a lot of money drying fish, Prum was sold into slave labour, sent to sea on a fishing trawler. He was forced to work around the clock and through storms, allowed a maximum two hours’ sleep by day and two hours at night.