Yeonmi Parks: A Tale of Endurance

Yeonmi Park was born in North Korea. She is now 22 and living in New York. Due to the hardships she faced, both during her time in North Korea and during the process of escaping North Korea, Park decided to become a human rights activist and to write a book that chronicled her and her family’s journey to freedom.

Just before Yeonmi was born, the Soviet Union fell. During the Soviet Union’s period of power, the USSR would import food into North Korea at a considerable discount. This stopped when the USSR collapsed and North Korea fell into a famine. Yeonmi speaks of having a single frozen potato for dinner or occasionally eating insects out of hunger.

In order to feed his family, Yeonmi’s father, a civil servant for the North Korean Regime, took to smuggling metal. He was caught, arrested and sent to a prison camp. When this happened, Yeonmi’s mother decided it was time for them to leave the country. Yeonmi and her mother found a man to guide them into China. Unfortunately, when they reached China the guide sold them into a human trafficking ring.

Yeonmi and her mother were sold separately but Yeonmi convinced her “buyer” to buy back her mother and bring her father over from North Korea. However, her father had colon cancer that had been left untreated and he died just two months after escaping North Korea. Yeonmi’s “buyer” finally released Yeonmi and her mother after two years, due to the fact that he loved her. The two of the trekked across China and the Gobi Desert and into Mongolia. Once they had reached Mongolia, they were sent to South Korea.

Since arriving in South Korea, Yeonmi and her mother have been reunited with Yeonmi’s older sister. Yeonmi’s goal according to  DailyMail is to show the plight of the people of North Korea to the world. She would like the rest of the world to see that North Korea is not just to be joked about.

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