Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic gold champion shares that he was a victim of child trafficking.
British athlete, Mohamad Farah made his mark in sports at the 2012 London Olympics by winning gold medals in the 5,000m and 10,000m races. In an upcoming documentary which is set to air on BBC tomorrow, Farah revealed how he was taken as a child from his home in Somaliland, a country in East Africa by a woman he had never met and trafficked to the United Kingdom illegally. Farah shares how running provided him an outlet for his painful and traumatic past.
“Most people know me as Mo Farah, but that is not my name or the reality. The real story is [that] I was born in Somaliland, north of Somalia, as Hussein Abdi Kahin”, shared Farah with BBC.
A woman had trafficked Farah as a young child of 8 or 9 years of age and taken to an apartment in west London where he was forced to provide care to her family and children. He was not allowed to attend school until the age of 12.
Previously, Farah shared how he had moved to the UK as a refugee from Somalia with his family, but the exclusive BBC documentary depicts how his parents have never lived in the UK. Farah’s father was killed during conflicts in Somalia when he was around 4 years old. His mother and two brothers live in Somaliland, on their family farm.
Once Farah began attending school, he took escape in running and performed with excellence. A teacher who noticed him as “unkempt and uncared for” and “emotionally and culturally alienated” contacts local officials, who then arranged for a Somali foster family to care for Farah.
“I still missed my real family, but from that moment everything got better. I felt like a lot of stuff was lifted off my shoulders, and I felt like me”, shares Farah.
In 2000, Farah was granted UK citizenship and represented Britain at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics. For years, Farah tried blocking his past out and talked about often locking himself in the bathroom and crying as a child. Farah feared deportation if he spoke about his trafficking experiences but now has decided to share his story in hopes that it will challenge people’s perceptions of human trafficking.
Mo Farah pictured on the celebration of Eid with his son. (Credit: Mo Farah/Facebook)
UK Home Office outlines that a child trafficked is not complicit in gaining citizenship through deception: “If the person was a child at the time the fraud, false representation or concealment of material fact was perpetrated, the caseworker should assume that they were not complicit in any deception by their parent or guardian.”
London Mayor, Sadiq Khan commended Farah’s strength in sharing his story of pain and suffering, but also inspiration through seeking solitude through excellence in running competitively.
“Everything Sir Mo has survived proves he’s not only one of our greatest Olympian but a truly great Briton. Mo Farah, thank you for sharing your story, shining a spotlight on these awful crimes and showing why safe passage is so important for those in need”, said Sadiq Khan.
Cover Photo credit: Mo Farah Facebook Feed.