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New York Times highlights North Korea defector who built her new life in Utah

A Utah family appeared in a New York Times report about the United States admitting North Korean defectors into the country.
A Utah family appeared in a New York Times report about the United States admitting North Korean defectors into the country.
New York Times screenshot

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah family appeared in a New York Times reportabout the United States admitting North Korean defectors into the country.

What happened: The New York Times’ report featured Holly Hwang and her daughter, who bike 10 miles every day to a day care center.

  • Sometimes they travel in the rain and snow to get to the day care center.
  • Hwang earns $9.52 an hour operating a forklift. She then travels back to the day care center to pick up her daughter.
  • “The commute can be exhausting, but not compared with the grueling journey that brought her here. It started when she escaped from her native North Korea to China with the help of a smuggler, who then sold her into servitude, and marriage, to a stranger. She fled once again and arrived in Salt Lake City with her child nearly three years ago — one of a dwindling number of North Korean defectors admitted to the United States in recent years.”
  • “My life is settled and very safe in Utah,” Hwang said.
  • Hwang also helps load goods at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints humanitarian aid distribution center. She said she wants to study business and learn English.
  • She has found a South Korean church to help her find community and financial support.
  • “U.S. life is better. North Korea is hell,” she said. But she added: “I’m lonely and miss my family in North Korea. If someone said they don’t miss home, they’re lying.”

Read more from the New York Times.

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