Modern slavery - The real Mo Farah

Updated: Oct 24

A BBC documentary released on Wednesday revealed Olympic athlete Sir Mo Farah's harrowing childhood, after being #trafficked into #Britain and forced to work as a #domesticservant. "It's a really emotional watch, but I am incredibly proud of it" Mo wrote on his Instagram.⁣

The long-distance runner, who won four Olympic gold medals for Team GB, had previously said he arrived into the #UK from #Somalia with his parents as a refugee. However, it has been brought to light that Mo's parents have never visited the UK. His mother and two brothers live in Somaliland, a breakaway state which declared independence in 1991, though is not internationally recognised. His father, Abdi, was killed by stray gunfire during the civil war when Mo was four.⁣

Mo confirmed he was born with the name Hussein Abdi Kahin. When he was about eight or nine years old, he was flown to the UK from Djibouti by a woman he had never met and wasn't related to. She had told him he was being taken to Europe to live with relatives - something he says he was "excited" about. The woman told him to say his name was Mohamed, which reflected the fake travel documents she intended to traffic him with. When they arrived in the UK, the woman took him to her flat in West London and confiscated a piece of paper from him with his relatives contact details. "Right in front of me, she ripped it up and put it in the bin" he said.⁣

"If I wanted food in my mouth, my job was to look after [her] kids, shower them, cook for them, clean for them". Mo lamented that he would often lock himself in the bathroom and cry.⁣

Mo found an escapism in running; his school PE Teacher Alan Watkinson played a crucial role in helping Mo find freedom from domestic servitude and cope with his childhood trauma.⁣

Until now, the athlete feared he would be deported if he spoke about his experiences. He decided to tell his story to challenge public perceptions of trafficking and slavery. The UK Home Office has since stated that it would be taking no action against him.⁣

Mo's revelation will inform people around the world that modern slavery can happen anywhere.


Photo © history.org.uk

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