(Click “Show Transcript” below to read her remarks in full.)
At 9 years old, she saw her friend’s mother punished for a crime that in most countries is just a normal, everyday activity.
This is just one reason North Koreans live in fear for their lives.
Yeonmi’s own mother was forced to make a horrible compromise to protect her daughter.
*Trigger warning: Discussion of rape.*
And often, escaping into China isn’t even the safe haven it should be.
As Yeonmi points out, there are about 300,000 North Korean refugees in China who are vulnerable. 70% of North Korean women and teenage girls who have escaped into China are being victimized and trafficked, sometimes sold for as little as $200.
(FACT CHECK: These numbers seem to correlate roughly with this report by Human Rights Watch)
So what can people do to help put an end to this 7-decade-long human rights violation?
Here are Yeonmi’s requests:
- “Educate yourself so that you can raise awareness about [the] human crisis in North Korea.”
- “Help and support North Korean refugees who are trying to escape to freedom.
- “Petition on China’s repatriation [of North Korean citizens]. … We need governments all around the world to put pressure on China to stop repatriation.”
Just by watching this video, you’re already doing #1.