Young and beautiful Yeonmi Park has a bright future ahead of her. When she was just thirteen years old, she knew the future held nothing for her.
“My father was a prisoner, and I was seen as an inmate’s daughter,” Yeonmi Park said softly during an interview by the Daily Mail UK. “I knew that I had no future.”
Yeonmi was born in North Korea, a country known for its harsh rule. Those living in the country were subjected to strict conditioning. Yeonmi stated in various interviews that she was taught at a young age to bite her tongue.
“I was told that the small woodland animals could hear everything I said, even a whisper,” Yeonmi said.
Life in North Korea, according to Yeonmi Park, was very oppressive. She has said that the regime controlled everything, even the country’s single television station.
“The guards always told us what to do and what to watch.”
Some time after her father was imprisoned, Yeonmi’s mother hired traffickers to smuggle her and her daughters into China. Yeonmi’s sister, Eunmi, departed with others. The traffickers who guided Yeonmi and her mother took advantage of the pair. Once they had reached China, one of the men attempted to rape Yeonmi, but her mother offered herself in place of her daughter. They remained in captivity for a few years before they were freed. Yeonmi and her mother initially managed to duck under the radar of Chinese authorities and struggled to relocate to South Korea.
Yeonmi Park enrolled in college and studied criminal justice, where she also learned about compassion and human rights. She has since penned a memoir about her life and escape from North Korea. Yeonmi has went on to speak out against the Kim dynasty.
“Kim Jong-un does not like me very much,” Yeonmi said on NY Times. “There are so many people who think he is a joke, but to me, he is very real and very dangerous.”