Yeonmi Park is to North Korean defectors what Katniss Everdeen is to the characters of ‘The Hunger Games’. That is to say, Yeonmi Park is an icon and a representation of the hard life that North Korean citizens are forced to go through. She is symbolic of the ability to rise above and courageously find her own freedom. Yeonmi Park has become a voice in the world of human rights activism and for the first time ever she is putting her story into text in her new Amazon released book, “In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom”.
As a girl Yeonmi Park revealed on The Reason that the North Korean government was an ever looming oppressive force that conspired to keep the citizens of North Korea firmly in check. Things were so bad that Park would see neighbors dragged out into the street and executed for the smallest of infractions. Park was raised by her mother, largely, and taught that she should never draw attention to herself. Do not sing, do not wear colorful clothing, do not talk about the government — ever.
Life in North Korea routinely consisted of slow starvation and the constant fear that the next day would be your last, said Park. For her father, one day, it became true. Yeonmi’s father was dragged off to a labor camp and this caused the chain of events that forced Yeonmi and her mother to take up with human traffickers in order to flee the country. Escaping North Korea was a nightmare but their flight didn’t lead to immediate freedom.
Instead Park and her mother were sold into human trafficking and they were forced to operate as slaves to the ruthless men that purchased them. At barely 13 years old Yeonmi was forced to be the child bride of a man who had purchased her. It took two years for Park to muster up the courage to flee her newest prison, this one in China, and escape over the Mongolian Desert in the dark of night through freezing temperatures and with nobody at her side. From there Park made it to South Korea and then eventually to America.