Yeonmi Park shares that she had no idea what freedom was as a child. She wasn’t familiar with the concept, and her biggest concern was simply getting something to eat on a daily basis.
Park’s inspiring story begins with her leaving her native North Korea in March of 2007. She and her mother crossed the freezing waters of the Yalu River in the middle of the night to get to China, and had no idea what they would do when they arrived. Yeonmi was 13 years old at the time of the escape. She and her mom eventually traveled through the Gobi desert and ended up getting to South Korea by plane. Yeonmi’s father crossed the border to join her and her mother, but he passed away just a few months later from untreated cancer.
Thousands of readers of her Amazon released book have been inspired by Yeonmi Park’s story, but some are questioning the validity of her accounts. While according to the NK News.org, Pyongyang has produced a long video to discredit Yeonmi’s story, Park insists that everything she had shared is true. Yeonmi does, however, admit that some of the names were changed in order to protect her North Korean relatives. Park also shares that she was reluctant to admit that she’d been raped when she was 13, because she was ashamed. Yeomi also didn’t speak English well, so some of the details of her story were not well understood.
Park’s account of the hardships she endured make the stakes even higher for North Korean refuges. If any facts about Park’s story are exaggerated, it could be even more difficult for refugees from Yeonmi’s native country to get the help they so desperately need. However, Park makes it very clear that she knows the truth of oppression in North Korea and refuses to be silent about it.
It happens in your town, city, and state and many of you have no idea what goes on. There are children, mothers and even fathers who have been bought and sold for both their sexual and labor advantages. They may be a well to do person or a vagabond on the street. The world of human trafficking involves kidnapping people from all walks of life. There’s not a person that can’t be a victim given the right circumstances and location. While human trafficking can be for labor, more than 75% of victims are used for sexual pleasures. It is the utmost way that HIV is spread throughout the country.
Although slavery was abolished years ago, there are more slaves in our world today than at any other time throughout history. It’s a huge industry that has over 27 million adults and 13 million children involved. In some countries, people are kidnapped for their organs due to a human trafficking process known as organ harvesting. Young girls are often used to lure others into the fold. They are well trained and work hard to recruit new members continually. North Korea is one area that is especially noted to be hostile for women and human trafficking. Many try to escape this country by way of China, only to find out that there are people waiting for them at the border to kidnap them and break their will. If one of the 80% of women who escape through China complains, they will be sent back to North Korea and either killed or housed in a slavery camp.
This industry claims more than 30,000 lives each year because of its tortuous ways. Girls are often malnourished, abused and have a plethora of medical conditions due to unfit housing conditions. Sexually transmitted diseases are ramped. Some escape and live to tell the tale. One lucky lady and her mother escaped the clutches of the Chinese market by way of a desert. Yeonmi Park is a human rights activist that shares her story on the Independent with anyone who will listen. She was tortured, raped and battered before she escaped at only 13 years of age. She is a native of North Korea who didn’t know of such a life until her father went to prison. With no money to live, her mother, sister and Park decided to escape to China. Once they made it to the border, they were sold to a man who utilized their services.
Park describes conditions that are not fit for a dog. She talks about going without food, water and living in filthy conditions. Though Park has relocated to South Korea, a much more liberal and safe area, she never forgets the horrors that drove her to the edge of her sanity. She now dedicates her life to sharing her story and counseling others about the day they made a choice that changed their entire life. She is a survivor and wants to expose the lascivious acts that go on in the underworld.