North Korean Defector and Human Right Activist
Year of Birth
NK / SK
Field of Knowledge
Park Yeon-mi (or Yeonmi Park; born 4 October 1993) is a North Korean defector and human rights activist who escaped to China in 2007 and settled in South Korea in 2009. She came from an educated, politically connected family that turned to black market trading during North Korea’s economic collapse in the 1990s. After her father was sent to a labor camp for smuggling, her family faced starvation. They fled to China, where Park and her mother fell into the hands of human traffickers before escaping to Mongolia. She is now an advocate for victims of human trafficking in China and works to promote human rights in North Korea and around the globe.
Park rose to global prominence after she delivered a speech at the One Young World 2014 Summit in Dublin, Ireland — an annual summit that gathers young people from around the world to develop solutions to global problems. Her speech, about her experience escaping from North Korea, received 50 million views in two days on YouTube and social media, with a current total of more than 80 million. Her memoir In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom was published in September 2015.The veracity of the testimony of Park Yeon-mi is however questioned by a number of experts on North Korea.
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