Vannak Anan Prum

Activist Type
Human Rights

Vannak Anan Prum, an artist and human rights activist, bravely shares his harrowing experience as a victim of labor trafficking through his powerful paintings. Having endured torture, mistreatment, and exploitation on a Thai fishing boat for four years before swimming to freedom, Prum sheds light on the estimated 27 million people enslaved worldwide. His journey, from being sold to a palm oil plantation in Cambodia to collaborating with human rights organizations for his repatriation, underscores the pervasive issue of modern slavery. Featured in the documentary "Journey to Freedom," Prum's resilience and advocacy highlight the urgent need for action against human trafficking, particularly in industries like Thai fishing, as Cambodia grapples with efforts to combat this heinous crime. 

Artwork by
Joshua Chiang

Prum spreads awareness of the blight of human trafficking through his drawings, which is why I portrayed him holding a pencil and sketchbook. He wears a krama, a checkered-patterned scarf which has become the national symbol of Cambodia. The style of this work is inspired by traditional Cambodian shadow puppets (Sbek Thom) and the bas reliefs found on the walls of the Angkorian-era temples. The brown in the artwork is meant to recall the cured leather that shadow puppets are cut from, and the blue references the title of Prum’s book - “The Dead Eye And The Deep Blue Sea”. 


Cambodia Flag
Phnom Penh
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