A Young Korean Girl’s Mission For Family’s Freedom and Hers

Yeonmi Park tells a horrific story life as a child in a depressive society. She shares her innermost secrets of her close-knit family’s struggle. She educates through the YoungVoicesAdvocates Organization about the hardship of living in North Korea. How unjust it could be after seeing her father imprisoned and beaten brutally for metal trades to China. Due to the nature of his crime, their entire family was looked upon as criminals. For that, they would suffer the cruel extremities of Northern Korea. Having been only 13 years old at the time, Ms. Park and her mother were kidnapped and taken across the border to China. Park will admit she hadn’t really known what it meant to be free. She just knew if she and her family hadn’t gotten out of North Korea, they would surely die form starvation. Upon being abducted, Ms. Park only weighed sixty pounds. Her and her family were forced to live in a prison labor camp. Although she knew that her quest for freedom would be a large price to pay, she had no idea what the following days would bring.

Ms. Yeonmi Park shares on The Reason.com, “One of my earlier memories was my mom telling me not to even whisper, because the birds and mice can hear my whisper. I was so surprised in the West to see parents encourage their children to express their feelings. I had to learn at that young of an age not to.” She also recalls not everything being free and how guards were dictating her family’s every move. While Park was still 13, she managed to escape. She’d been propositioned by man to purchase her parents in exchange for being his mistress. She agrees so she can be reunited with her parents. Upon her father arriving to China, her father loses a bout to colon cancer. She had no sources of communication to tell anyone of her father’s death. “I still remember that cold night sitting next to him”, she recalls. She understands for the first time what true freedom is. It’s apparent in an interview when she says, “For the first time, I own me.”