Yeonmi Park – Motivated by her own Tragedy

The compelling story of Yeonmi Park’s harrowing escape from the North Korean forced labor camps is told her book “In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom” which was released this past September on BBC. As a humanitarian and activist against the oppressive North Korean Government, Yeonmi Park has spoken many times of her life and subsequent escape from North Korea, a time filled with endless hunger and the constant fear of death befalling her. But not until just recently has she shared the most intimate details of her childhood in North Korea in print. In her new book, Park also reveals the enormous price she paid for her freedom from repression. Yeonmi’s escape from North Korea was just the first of many difficult steps that ultimately lead to her freedom. Park was only 13 when she and her mother fled North Korea in to China but her escape only led to the next hardship in her already unimaginable tragic young life. In China, Park was taken by human traffickers and sold as a child bride. And for the following two years, she and her mother living each day in fear of being captured by the Chinese police who would undoubtedly return them to North Korea. Eventually Park and her mother did find their way to Mongolia where those defecting from North Korea were given refuge. Not long after that they arrived in South Korea where they were, for the first time in their lives, recognized as free citizens. Freedom did not come easy to Yeonmi however, as she had spent her entire life living in isolation. She was raised being told what, how and when to do everything and only knew of totally government reliance. But most difficult of all, Yeonmi lacked education. At the age of 15, adjusting to such major changes in her life did not come easy for Yeonmi but over time she did adapt. And in the process of doing so Yeonmi Park found her calling as a humanitarian and an activist fighting against the repressive North Korean regime.

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