Human rights activist and author of Amazon released book In Order To Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey To Freedom Yeonmi Park never knew freedom existed while living in North Korea. All she knew is that she, her family, and many others were suffering under the brutal dictatorship of Kim Jung Il.
Like many others who were able to escape, the stories are all the same. Kim Jung Il ruled with an iron fist. You either went along or suffered the consequences. A number of people mysterious disappeared. Many were shot, imprisoned and even worse.
Yeonmi Park‘s story began at the tender age of 13. Her father – a government worker – was convicted of smuggling and sentenced to a brutal work camp. Once he reunited with his family, it was decided that leaving North Korea was no longer an option. Sadly, her father died of cancer before he could escape.
According to Park’s accounts, the human traffickers were just as bad as Kim Jung Il’s army. She and her mother suffered from starvation and subhuman treatment and sexual abuse while in their custody. It was only through sheer will power that she and her mother survived.
On a very cold night, Park and her mother were able to escape the trafficker and make their way through the freezing Gobi Desert. They also discovered that Kim Jung Il’s army was patroling the area. They finally reached the Chinese border where they were helped by missionaries. She never felt completely free until she and her mother made it to South Korea.
Thankfully, she was able to reunite with her sister, Eunmi, who was presumed dead after escaping before them. A few years after settling into life in South Korea, Park decided to devote her time to human rights issues. She felt obligated to help people who sharing the same ordeal.
Today, Park is an internationally known activist and frequently speaks out on New York Times about human rights issues and abuse.