As investigative reporters, Oprah Show correspondent Lisa Ling and her younger sister, Laura, dedicate their lives to telling other people's stories. But in the summer of 2009, they found themselves caught in an international firestorm.
On March 17, 2009, Laura and fellow Current TV journalist Euna Lee were taken into custody while covering a story on human trafficking at the border of China and North Korea. "They did set foot on North Korean soil for maybe a minute—at most," Lisa says. "Then they rushed back."
The North Korean government charged Laura and Euna with illegal entry and hostile acts. A secret trial on June 8 found the women guilty and sentenced them to 12 years of hard labor. Imprisoned in one of the most isolated countries in the world, the women were allowed little contact with the outside.
On August 4, 2009, President Bill Clinton traveled to North Korea to negotiate Laura and Euna's release. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il issued a pardon, and the women were reunited with their loved ones after 140 days in captivity.
Nearly a month after their release, Laura and Euna wrote about their journalistic mission and their trial and imprisonment in North Korea. Read their statement in the Los Angeles Times. "What happened that day is very complicated," Lisa says.