Yeonmi Park‘s description of life in North Korea and of her harrowing escape from that shadowy country make for arresting reading. Now a spokesperson and has videos on Youtube for those still suffering under the absolute rule of dictator Kim Jong Un, Park looks for the day when his regime will come to an end.
The tale of Park and her family’s hardships start as the result of a fall from grace when her father, during Kim Jong II’s time in power, was arrested for smuggling metal in hopes of coming up with the means to feed his family. He was sentenced to 17 years in a labor camp, and the remaining members of the family were ostracized. Park and her mother, who had barely been subsisting on the food available, set out to escape from North Korea when Park was a mere 13 years old.
It was a difficult passage for the mother and daughter who had to make their way into China, where Yeonmi and her mother ran afoul of sexual traffickers. Eventually, Park’s father joined the pair in China, but he died not long after from a disease contracted in captivity. Park and her mother once again set out on a dangerous journey that they hoped would lead to a better life. Eventually, though subject to a very tenuous existence, they crossed the Gobi Desert—finally reaching South Korea by plane after having reached the border of Mongolia.
Despite having lived through such hardship Yeonmi said on a DailyMailUK interview that she remains hopeful and is dedicated to shining a light on the millions who still suffer under North Korea’s dark regime.