Yeonmi Park, a high-profile activist, spoke to the press last Saturday about the experiences that she and her mother lived when residing and escaping North Korea.
Park, who currently is 21 years old, resides in New York. And she recently published a book titled, “In Order to Live,” which narrates the events that led to North Korea’s downfall and experiences lived by Park and her mother.
According to nk news.org Park, North Korea begin to decline after the fall of the Soviet Union. This caused then, the non-communist Soviet Union, to radically change its policies in trades.
North Korea was dependent on Soviet Union on many aspects, especially food. North Korea eventually fell into famine, and such events Park remembers them clearly.
Park remembers that at one point, she and her family members had to consume for example plants, like grasses and flowers, and insects. Eating crickets or butterflies had become the norm. People were starving, and the then estate of Kim Jong-il showed no mercy on revolts. Countless North Korean citizens either died by execution or starvation. Park remembers seeing piles of dead bodies on the streets.
People eventually tried to leave the country, risking their lives and risking getting put in prision. Park’s father was not an exception and ended up in jail as well.
The absence of a father in the family made conditions worse; thus, Park’s mother, in desperation and need, also opted to escape. She convinced a Chinese trafficker to cross her to China, a task that seemed practically impossible.
Park recalls that she and her mother had to walk countless distances and cross the Yalu river, which is known for its dangerousness. She remembers too how she, her mother, and the man dodged the guards at the border. But the hard journey did not end when they were finally able to arrive safely in China. The trafficker sexually abused Park’s mother as soon as they arrived at Chinese soil.
The sexual abuses continued as long as they resided in the trafficker’s house in china. Park continuously witnessed her mother getting rapped by the man. She was 13 years old at the time, and such moments have marked her life.
Eventually, after two years, the trafficker awolled Park and her mom to go. They headed towards mongolia. And as soon as they arrived, they took a flight to South Korea.
Park is on the mission of raising awareness of the conditions that the the North Koreans are undergoing. She has travelled all over the world and has been on many events, recently at the Women in the World Summit 2015.