Yeonmi Park was born in North Korea in 1993. But life there was tough and she and her family were often forced to go hungry. After her father was tortured and imprisoned for black market trading, Parks family were branded criminals and cruelly marginalized. When Yeon-mi Park was 13, suffering from a badly done appendectomy and weighing only 60 pounds, she and her mother escaped to China. While in transit, the human traffickers helping them began pressuring the 13 year old Yeonmi Park for sex. Once in China, Chinese and Korean missionaries helped them move to Mongolia. South Korean diplomats later helped them to move Seoul, South Korea.
It was not until 2007 when Yeonmi Park arrived in South Korea that she finally felt she was free. Park and her mother had difficulty settling life in South Korea. Eventually they found jobs and Park began attending Seoul’s Dongguk University. She also became a human rights activist and began to speak out about human rights abuses in North Korea. Today she regularly gives talks about her experiences at venues all over the world and is an advocate for victims of human trafficking. In 2014 Yeon-mi Park spoke on The Reason and at the One Young World 2014 Summit which was held in Dublin, Ireland. That speech has been viewed on YouTube over 2 million times.
In her new Amazon released book ‘In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom’ released in 2015, Yeon-mi Park goes into great detail about her harrowing life in North Korea. She speaks candidly and with chilling accuracy about the oppression she endured in North Korea and the price she had to pay to get her freedom. Park talks about fearing she would die in an inhuman prison labor camp, from starvation, or from disease. She talks about risking her life for a bowl of rice, enduring sexual slavery, and why her journey to China was about more than just survival. The book bravely and defiantly gives readers insights into the painful, horrifying realities of sexual slavery, deprivation, oppression, and what life is like under a cruel dictatorship in North Korea.