From North Korea to South Korea: The Long Journey of Yeonmi Park

There those out there that doubt the story of Yeonmi Park, in part and in whole. Other North Korean defectors question why it took Park so long to tell others of the violence and abuse she faced. The North Korean Regime claims the whole story is false and she is just an agent for the United States. But Yeonmi says that they are wrong, everything she has stated, whether written or spoken, is absolutely true.

In Yeonmi’s recently released autobiography, “In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom”, Park tells on NY Times the story of her life and her journey. Growing up in North Korea, life was tough. There was never enough food. They were always in fear. So her family decided that it was time to leave. When she was 13, Yeonmi and her mother escaped from North Korea in the middle of the night. They had a guide take them across the frozen river that divides North Koreans from China. When they arrived in China, Yeonmi and her mother were not given the freedom that they had been promised.

Daughter and mother were sold to separate buyers and they each suffered two years of abuse, both sexually and physically. Eventually, the two were reunited and escaped from China. They had to trek across the country and through the Gobi Desert. During their journey, they carried knives on them so that they could kill themselves if they were caught by the Chinese authorities. The Chinese government is known for sending North Korean defectors back to North Korea, where they are tortured and killed.

Yeonmi and her mother reached Mongolia and were sent to South Korea to be reunited with Yeonmi’s older sister and to be integrated into society. Yeonmi is now an activist for human rights on Casey&Yeonmi. She wants the world to know her story and both the stories of others who have escaped from North Korea and who are still trapped there.

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