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Yeonmi Park

North Korean defector, student, and expert on the country's black market economy

Asia-Pacific and South Asia

Yeonmi Park is a North Korean refugee and an expert on the country’s black market economy. Park was born in Hyesan, North Korea. As a child, she lived as part of North Korea’s elite until the regime punished her father for selling items to China and banished him and his family to the northern part of the country, where poverty, starvation, and “disappearances” became a part of everyday life. Park and her family escaped North Korea through China and Mongolia in 2007. She is currently a media fellow at Freedom Factory, a think tank based in Seoul, and studies criminal justice at Dongguk University. She co-hosts the “ Casey and Yeonmi Show,’’ a podcast about North Korean issues, and is featured on “Now On My Way to Meet You,” a TV show in which North Korean women discuss their past and present lives. Park is also an ambassador of the Teach North Korean Refugees project.