Imagine the terror of growing up in a place where survival was your first priority. Yeonmi Park, lived a horrifying life of starvation and fear while trying to escape to South Korea for a better life.
Yeonmi lived with her father, Park Jin Sik, mum, Byron Keom Sook, and older sister, Eunmi in North Korea. Her father, who was formerly a prosperous and respected civilian, was sent to prison for smuggling to provide for his wife and two daughters. With starvation at their doorstep, Yeonmi, along with her mum and sister, were forced to plot their escape.
South Korea has been a place of freedom to the people of North Korea for over twenty years, and sounded like Utopia to Yeonmi and her family.
Determined to find Eunmi and escape the regime of Kim Jong II, the two found themselves coaxing a man to smuggle them across the Yalu river to China.
Sadly, this man had a different plan in mind and immediately changed his intentions of helping them into controlling them for his pleasure. After demanding that Yeonumi, only being thirteen, to have sex with him, her mum, Byron, relinquished her own body instead. In time, under new circumstances, Yeonmi was once the mans mistress and was forced to give herself to him at his request.
Eventually the trafficker agreed to smuggle Yeonmi’s father across the border, which led to a remarkable outcome, the man liberated the family.
Shortly after their release from the traffickers control, Yeonmi’s father passed away from an underlying cancer that had been left untreated. Now, Yeonmi and her mother were alone again and decided that they had to continue on. This time, with the help and blessings from a Christian missionary group, they headed out across the Gobi Desert for their last hope of a new life.
After safely crossing the Gobi Desert, Yeonmi and her mother finally made it to freedom in Mongolia. They were immediately taken to South Korea where they could live a normal life and Yeonmi could go to school. After two years of living quietly, they were reunited with Eunmi.
Yeonmi is now an Amazon best selling book writer sharing her voice that was once unheard.