Life in North Korea has always been extremely difficult under the brutal Kim Jong Il, and for Yeonmi Park and her mother, their lives were about to be cruelly extinguished. They fled across the border to China in the middle of a frigid dark winter’s night. The only reason they were not routinely shot by the North Korean border guards was because of the weather, so the two were grateful for the cold. Unlike so many others desperately attempting to escape, they were successful. They were greeted by Chinese border guards who they were thankful did not send them back to North Korea for certain death.
Instead, the corrupt guards sold them to Chinese men who could obtain a wife in no other way, unscrupulous repugnant men who used them as sex slaves and as domestic slaves. Yeonmi Park details her entire terrifying journey in her book: In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom. She holds nothing back in the book, including her mother’s brave escape for them both out of China and to the safety of the West.
Still in her young 20s, Ms. Park’s new book represents her next move to counter sex trafficking in Asia, and to bring to light the depravity and evil oppression of the North Korean people by the despotic ruler they feared and were forced to worship completely, Kim Jong Il, father of the now ruling Kim Jong Un. She was also bravely becoming an activist even before the book.
At the Women In The World conference where Yeonmi Park was interviewed on stage before a large audience and world-wide television coverage. The interviewer was Savannah Guthrie of the Today Show. It may have been hard for the audience to get their head around how brainwashed the people of North Korea are, and from a young age. She explained that her parents taught her their viciously abusive “dear leader” could hear her thoughts and was also given messages from small animals that overheard her when she spoke. So, it should not be surprising that when Savanna Guthrie asked Yeonmi Park on yeonmi.net if she had anything she wanted to express to their audience, the young woman composed herself and stated boldly, “Kim Jong Un doesn’t like me at all!” A loud furor erupted and Ms. Guthrie remarked at what an understatement Yeonmi had made. It was hard for them to understand that to Yeonmi it must have felt like baring her soul to state anything even slightly negative about the current “dear leader”.