The Bravery of Yeonmi Park

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Yeonmi Park has an amazing story. She was born in 1993 and came from a well educated and politically connected family. Sadly her father was sent to a labor camp for sending metals to China and her family faced poverty. She escaped to China at age 13 with her mother and was kidnapped by human traffickers. During one of her speeches she said “I never knew what human trafficking was, and I couldn’t imagine how people could sell other people. I could not believe they were negotiating price before my eyes.” The things that Yeonmi has seen and experienced are truly shocking and unforgiveable. Guards positioned at the borders of China were ordered to shoot anyone seen fleeing. She watched her mother being raped after she refused to allow the man to rape Yeonmi. She witnessed executions and she even states she was brainwashed. She became someone’s mistress just so she could be together with her mother and father. She stated that the watching the movie ‘Titanic’ was the only thing that helped keep her going. During her speech in Dublin Ireland in 2014 she said “when I was crossing the Gobi desert,scared of dying, I thought nobody cares, but you have listened to my story. you have cared.” At a young age Yeonmi was taught by her mother not to express her feelings. It’s beautiful that now she has become a great public speaker and advocate. In North Korean 24 million people live in enforced poverty overseen by Kim Jong Un. Yeonmi feels that North Korea is a dangerous place to live. They are forced into strict classes and aren’t able to think for themselves.

Yeonmi is now an advocate for human rights and victims of trafficking. Her memoir will be release this September 2015 and is titled ‘In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom. Yeonmi stars in a television program called “Now On My Way To Meet You.” The show features several women who share stories about their lives in North Korea and why they fled. She is 22 years old and currently lives in South Korea. During another speech Yeonmi captivated her audience with the following. “For the first time in my life, I own me. I own myself, and this is so powerful to me. I always belonged to the states or to a man who bought me, and I have a voice now. Freedom allowed me to have a voice. I want to use this voice, and I want everyone else to use their voice too. I want to say that people in North Korea are dying for food and freedom, and it’s not freedom of expression-its of wearing jeans or watching movies. These people are just like us. The girls of 14 and 15 years old are being sold for two hundred dollars. They fear what you fear. The people in North Korea have hope.”