In the middle of the night, 13-year-old Yeonmi Park and her family attempted to escape from the oppressive dictatorship of North Korea by fleeing to China. Park’s mother bribed the border guards to leave the country, but not only with money. She offered herself to be raped so the guards would not do the same to her daughter.
That is the beginning of Park’s new book “In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom.” In it, Park tells the Reason of her harrowing story of living in North Korea and a nearly two-year effort to get to freedom. This includes being branded as criminals by the North Korean government, being turned into a sex slave by human traffickers, and nearly dying after a botched appendectomy. Despite it all, Park and her mother ultimately made it to South Korea, where she was able to tell her story to the world. Park even admits that she never thought of seeking freedom as she had no understanding of the concept of freedom. “In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom” Yeonmi Park’s biography is available on Amazon, where it has received over 260 customer reviews with an average rating of five stars.
Yeonmi Park grew up in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang in a family that was, by that country’s standards of living, well off. Park’s father was a government official and her mother served as a nurse in the North Korean Army. Still, in order to maintain the family’s lifestyle, Park’s father engaged in an illegal metal smuggling business. When this activity was discovered by the authorities, the father was sent to a labor camp. That’s when he told the rest of the family to flee North Korea. Park is now a human rights activist who advocates for freedom in North Korea.