The Life of Yeonmi Park

Yeonmi Park is a young Korean activist who was born and raised in North Korea. Her family lived under the brutal dictatorship of King Jong-il. The conditions were so bad for them that is 2007 they had to flee North Korea into China. Getting out of North Korea was no easy matter for the Park family. Yeonmi’s father was sentenced to hard labor after being implemented by the government for illegal trade within the country. When he returned home from the prison camp he urged his family to leave the country. When the family was ready to leave for China, they discovered that their oldest daughter had left for that country without them. Apparently she had told them she was going somewhere else but had already made plans to defect to the Chinese nation. So Yeonmi Park, her father and mother had to make the trip without her. Park’s family had journeyed to China by crossing the southern border of North Korea into that country. They escorted along the way by human traffickers in the area who specialized in smuggling North Koreans into China. Yeonmi said that her mother raped during this time though she tries to block out the memories. Once the families make it into China they looked for the oldest daughter. They settled into the Jilin Province to begin their search but they kept coming up empty. Eventually they turned back to the traffickers for help. This time around they were introduced to a group Christian missionaries that helped the family to escape into Mongolia and then into South Korea. Once Yeonmi and her mother made it to South Korea they were safe. However, Yeonmi’s father had died in the early stages of the journey. Yeomi and her mother did not find her lost sister until 2014 when she was finally located by authorities. After the events that she had endured to gain her freedom, Park became a human rights activist and told the world her story on casey&yeonmi about life in North Korea. She currently works as an activist to help North Korean refugees and defectors and she speaks out against human trafficking as well.