British Olympic superstar Mo Farah reveals he was trafficked as a child

British Olympic star Mo Farah has told the BBC in a shocking revelation that he was trafficked as a child from Africa and forced to work as a housekeeper in the UK.

The long-distance runner, a four-time Olympic gold medalist and one of the country’s greatest athletes, was transported from Djibouti at the age of 9 by a woman he had never met. Farah was then forced to work to care for another family’s children, he said in an interview to be aired on Wednesday as part of the BBC One documentary ‘The Real Mo Farah’.

He said he received fake travel documents bearing his current name, Mohamed Farah. His birth name, he told the BBC, was Hussein Abdi Kahin.

The woman who arranged his trip told him she was taking him to Europe to visit relatives there, which excited him, Farah recalls. But when he arrived, the woman told him he had to do the housework and take care of the children “if I wanted food in my mouth”.

For years “I kept blocking it,” Farah, who was knighted in 2017, becoming Sir Mo, told the BBC. “But you can only block it for so long.”

In the past, Farah said she moved with her parents from Somalia as refugees. But, in fact, his parents never visited Britain, he said. His mother lives with her two brothers on their family farm in northern Somalia. Her father was killed amid civil violence when Farah was 4 years old.

He only went to school in Britain when he was 12 years old. Farah quickly became an athletics star and the adopted child of a Somali family. He said running saved him.

“I still miss my real family, but from that point on everything just got better,” he recalled to the BBC.

“I felt like a lot had been lifted off my shoulders and I felt like myself. That’s when Mo came out – the real Mo,” he added.

Farah ultimately decided to speak out, he said, to “challenge” public perceptions of trafficking and slavery, the BBC reported.

“I had no idea there were so many people going through the exact same thing as me,” he added.

Yet others have grappled with very different trajectories.

“It shows how lucky I was,” he said.

Check out the full BBC story here and a clip from the documentary above.


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