Yeonmi Park was born in North Korea. Her father was a civil servant for the ruling party and she had a sister who was three years older. Growing up, Yeonmi’s mother told her to never question anything because the North Korean Regime was listening. She told Yeonmi that even the birds and insects were listening to her.
This type of fear was a common aspect of Yeonmi’s childhood. She was born after the fall of the Soviet Union. The fall of the communist power severely effected North Korea and its people. The Soviet Union had previously had a very forgiving import rate for importing food into North Korea. When North Korea stopped receiving discounted food from the USSR, it was swept by a famine. Yeonmi’s family, like the rest of the families in North Korea, struggled to find food. They would eat insects to survive.
During this period of time, Yeonmi’s father was arrested and sent to a prison camp. He had been caught smuggling metal in order to get food for his family. It was at this time that Yeonmi’s family decided they had to leave the country. On a cold winter evening, Yeonmi and her mother found a guide to help them sneak out of the country. The previous day, Yeonmi’s sister had quickly escaped the country.
Yeonmi and her mother spent two years in China, enslaved in a human trafficking ring. Finally Yeonmi’s father was able to join them but he died two months after his escaped from untreated colon cancer. Yeonmi and her mother managed to escape enslavement and made their way to South Korea where they reunited with Yeonmi’s older sister.
The North Korean Regime denies Yeonmi’s story on Youtube, saying that she is just a puppet for the west and its propaganda. Some North Korean defectors also question Yeonmi’s story on NK News. However, Yeonmi stands by her words and their truth. Yeonmi’s goal is shed light on the darkest country on earth so that the world can see the tragedy.
To read the full story, go here: https://reason.com/blog/2015/11/15/yeonmi-parks-north-korean-defector-story.