Yeonmi Park lived through a brutality that most can only imagine. She was born in North Korea and spent her entire childhood living in poverty. Her family simply wished that they had enough food to eat, let alone the freedoms that people in other countries such as the United States and South Korea were given. In 2007, Park and her mother decided to take a daring step into uncharted territory. They decided to cross the Yalu River in the middle of the night in an attempt to make it to a new home.
The happy ending wasn’t to be found. Park and her mother made it to China where Park was used by sex trafficking rings. In an interview with The Guardian, Park talked about the way Chinese men use North Korean women as “merchandise.” They do not think of North Korean women as having any real rights and they are happy to sell them for sex or marriage to the highest bidder. The experience was not only brutal, but it kept Park from feeling as though she could trust men. She had a difficult time connecting with men and didn’t begin to trust them again until she started writing her Amazon released book, “In Order to Live.”
Dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder from her ordeal in China and horrific childhood in North Korea has taken its toll on Park reports Reason. Still, her life now is one that most people would consider successful. Park resides in South Korea and is the star on a soap drama there. She also lives with her mother, who is doing well. She has spoken at the UN Human Rights conference on the subject of North Korea as well as at the One Young World summit in Ireland which gathered millions of views on Youtube.
Sadly, Park’s father was never able to see her success. He attempted to cross the North Korean border to be with Park and her mother, but died not long after due to untreated, terminal cancer. Park hopes that her story told through “In Order to Live,” will give new hope to those living in North Korea currently as well as help them get out.