The Dead Eye and Deep Blue Sea is a compelling firsthand visual memoir by Vannak Anan Prum, which provides a personal account of modern slavery, and a clear, political and social context into how a person becomes vulnerable.
Prum, who lived in poverty in his early life, details through graphic art, the whole story, revealing the full circle of his life from early childhood and his involvement with Vietnamese soldiers, to leaving his village and pregnant wife in search of work, only to become a victim of modern slavery as a captive on a fishing boat and a palm oil plantation over the course of a five year period. It also details his journey home including serving time in prison for illegal employment, and navigating formidable power dynamics to ensure his survival.
Prum's account sparks empathy for the level of desperation that drives a person to become an illegal immigrant and pieces together the link between immigration and modern slavery. Prum's artistry uses dangerous beauty to demonstrate the circumstances that lead a person into this situation.
A book that every adult should read, the memoir entirely strips away any criticism of illegal workers. Prum's experience as a slave is far more powerful than his migration status.
For readers, as consumers, Prum breaks down the illusion that our supply chains are free of slavery, and brings to the fore the work of organisations such as LICADHO in supporting victims of modern slavery.
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