I went to a local university that Yeonmi Park was speaking at. When she stepped up to the stage my mind wondered as she still looked like a little girl. She is 23 years old today, but she was 13 years of age when she escaped the horrors of Human Trafficking. When I listened to her speak it reminded me of my daughter who is 15. Yeonmi Park seemed so innocent and so childlike. I couldn’t’ have imagined the things she described that she had been through. She was promoting her new book that was released in September. The book is “In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom.” Wow, I complain when I get out of bed and don’t have enough sleep, hearing her story really put my life into perspective.
What I liked when I heard Yeonmi Park speak was the fact that she is not just anybody, but she talked about her family ties. She talked about how much she loved her mother and sisters. She talked about how she longed to be normal and do the things that others did. This child has been starved, beaten, raped and done more in her short years than I will ever see or experience in a lifetime. My children complain if they are having eggs for breakfast two days in a row, but this girl would have killed for an egg when the North Korean regime was starving her and her family after her father was sent to prison.
I grabbed a copy of her book on dailymail.co.uk on the way out and by the time I was home, I couldn’t wait to crack the copy and start reading. I wasn’t even one chapter into the book when the tears began to roll down my face. I decided to share this book with my daughter, who is 15. Together we read the book and developed a new appreciation for life and our freedom.
During the whole ordeal, Yeonmi Park lost her father to colon cancer. She also lost her sister for a brief period of time. She lost her virginity, her hope and was in a deep dark place. Watching her mother being raped would be more than any child of 13 could bear. She did escape through the dark of night when no one was watching. It was actually one of the captors that helped her and many others get away. It was through a desert, so that had its own challenges too. The fact is that she got away.
I hope that others will read this book with the hopes of understanding that the freedom that we have in the United States is valuable. That even though there is human trafficking here, the conditions and the way that people in other countries live is just unbelievable.