Recap story of Yeonmi Park

Twenty-two Yeonmi Park is striking. Small, slender, and beautiful with an infectious smile, no one can tell what she has been through. A famine survivor, a rape and trafficking victim, and a child-bride, all of these terrible events are part of her tale, the journey to her freedom.

Born in North Korea to a nurse and a civil servant, Yeonmi believed that her family was of what Americans would consider middle class. Her family would later come to realize that North Korea was a country of oppression and wanted more for themselves. Her father began to smuggle metal as a means of making extra money, funds that the family hoped would eventually deliver them to freedom. Yeonmi’s father was arrested and imprisoned, leaving Yeonmi’s mother to care for her two teenage daughters alone. 

Yeonmi’s mother knew that she had to get her daughters to freedom. Yeonmi’s sister, Eunmi, fled the country with assistance from friends while Yeonmi and her mother sought help from human smugglers. Yeonmi’s mother was raped just after they arrived in China and the teen herself became a victim of the sex slave trade. 

Yeonmi and her mother were freed after several years and followed a journey similar to the one before, except in the hopes of reaching South Korea. They were detained and threatened with deportation before they were sent to their desired destination. Adjusting to life in South Korea was difficult for the mother-daughter pair. They had their freedom, but they were uncertain of how to grasp it.

”I thought just having food was the happiest thing,” Yeonmi said on dailymail. “I did not know the word freedom.”

She and her mother made a living by working in shops and restaurants. They were reunited with their sister Eunmi, whom they believed to be deceased. Yeonmi enrolled in college, wrote an autobiography, and became a human rights advocate.

”North Korea should stop killing its people,” she said during an interview. “China needs to stop deporting North Korean refugees. They are just helping the country to kill people.”