It’s often through the most horrific of circumstances that a story of hope and faith emerges. Ask any songwriter or poet and they will tell you that during the lowest times of their lives they can often write or produce the best music. The same can be said about Yeonmi Park. She is a public speaker on The Guardain and now author who tells her heroic tales of escaping one of the darkest worlds that exists. Human trafficking is a dark and dangerous world that seeks out women and young children for sexual favors. While sexual slavery is the most common form, there are other forms as well. Men are also bought and sold for their ability to perform hard labor. It’s a world that is more horrifying than any scary movie and more deadly than anything anyone could imagine.
The United States is one of the biggest areas for human trafficking. Girls pose as dancers and are usually a cover for underage sex rings. These girls are often starved to maintain a certain weight and given drugs to make them submissive. There’s no release from this world, as those that are behind the rings will kill to ensure they get the money from the sexual acts. Park found herself in this situation when she and her mother went looking for her sister across the border into China. Being in the country of North Korea, sexual slavery and human trafficking is very common. The regime here does little to protect women and children. China is no better. They thought that they would be getting away from the tough government system; however, what they found couldn’t have been anything but a nightmare.
As a young child, Park endured many things. She was beaten, starved and asked to preform sexual acts on numerous men. She watched her mother being raped when she volunteered to sacrifice herself to be taken rather than her daughter. They learned to distrust men. Separated from her father, Park was miserable until someone offered to help her escape. A man that helped her was also one who bought and sold slaves. He helped both her and her mother escape through a desert in the middle of the night. There were several people that escaped that day, but for Park it was a day of liberty and one she will never forget.
She was just 14 years old when she made that trek across the desert, but much has changed since that day. Today, she is not defined by what happened in the past, but rather used it as a stepping stone into the future. Park speaks at colleges and several other venues around the world exposing the dark underworld that held her captive for so long. She talks about the North Korean government and how they turn a blind eye to such acts. Park and her sister and mother got out alive, but that is not always the case for others. Her new book tells the tale of a young girl with a strong will to live and the ability to outsmart her captors.