Twenty-two year old North Korean defector Yeonmi Park admits that she isn’t very popular with Kim Jung Un.
During a Women in the World Summit, Park discussed her life after fleeing her home country of North Korea. The human rights activist grew up living under the secretive and brutal dictatorship of Un’s father Kim Jung Il. Freedom is something that the people in North Korea know little about, says Yeonmi.
Her harrowing tale of survival is talked about in her Amazon released book, In Order To Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey To Freedom. Park says she, like most others in country lived under very dire, grim circumstances. Food was scarce and Kim Jung Il ruled with an iron fist. No one would ever raise so much as a whisper against him if they wished to remain alive.
In her book, Park discusses why the family opted to risk death or imprisonment to escape North Korea. After watching a black market copy of Titanic, Park was able to see the true meaning of freedom. It was something she yearned for. Then the unthinkable happened. Her father was jailed on suspicion of smuggling. He was sentenced to a brutal work camp where prisoners died, starved to death or disappeared daily.
Park and her family enlisted the help of human traffickers to help in their escape. According to Park’s statement on Daily Mail, they were no better than Kim Jung Il’s army. Her mother was sexually assaulted during their escape. Sadly, her father died of cancer before he could make it to freedom.
Park says it was with the help of some very good people in China that she and her mother were able to survive. They were finally reunited with her sister who left shortly before their escape.
Park used her experience as a catalyst to helping others in similar situations. She is one of the most popular and sought-after speaker on the human rights front. “It is my obligation to help others because I was helped,” according to Park.