British Olympic Superstar Mo Farah Reveals He Was Trafficked As A Child

"For years I just kept blocking it out," the long-distance runner told the BBC. "But you can only block it out for so long."
Mo Farah says he was taken from Djibouti at age 9.
Mo Farah says he was taken from Djibouti at age 9.
Screen Shot/YouTube/"The Real Mo Farah"/BBC One

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 domestic servant in the U.K.

The long-distance runner, a four-time Olympic gold medalist and one of the nation鈥檚 greatest athletes, was flown from Djibouti at the age of 9 by a woman he had never met. Farah was then forced to work caring for another family鈥檚 children, he recounted in an interview to be aired Wednesday as part of the documentary 鈥淭he Real Mo Farah鈥 on BBC One.

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

The woman who arranged his travel told him she was taking him to Europe to visit relatives there, which he was 鈥渆xcited鈥 about, Farah recalled. But when he arrived, the woman told him he had to do housework and provide child care 鈥渋f I wanted food in my mouth.鈥

She also told him: 鈥淚f you ever want to see your family again, don鈥檛 say anything. Often I would just lock myself in the bathroom and cry.鈥

For years 鈥淚 just kept blocking it out,鈥 Farah, who was knighted in 2017, becoming Sir Mo, told the BBC. 鈥淏ut you can only block it out for so long.鈥

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

He didn鈥檛 go to school in Britain until he was 12. Farah soon became a track star and the foster child of a Somali family. He said running saved him.

鈥淚 still miss my real family, but from that moment everything got better,鈥 he recalled to the BBC.

鈥淚 felt like a lot of stuff was lifted off my shoulders, and I felt like me. That鈥檚 when Mo came out 鈥 the real Mo,鈥 he added.

Farah finally decided to speak out, he said, to 鈥渃hallenge鈥 public perceptions of trafficking and slavery, the BBC reported.

鈥淚 had no idea there were so many people who are going through exactly the same thing that I did,鈥 he added.

Yet others have grappled with far different trajectories.

鈥淚t just shows how lucky I was,鈥 he said.

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

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