Mo Farah wins praise after ‘heart-breaking’ child trafficking tale
ir Mo Farah was praised today for highlighting the plight of trafficking victims after revealing that he was brought into Britain unlawfully under a false name.
The Olympic champion said his real name was Hussein Abdi Kahin and his previous account that he was brought here as a child refugee by his parents fleeing war in Somalia was untrue.
Instead, he said that he had been flown here from Djibouti aged eight or nine by a woman he had never met under the name Mohammed Farah and taken to her flat in Hounslow to do housework and childcare.
“Often I would just lock myself in the bathroom and cry,” he told a BBC One documentary The Real Mo Farah being broadcast tonight.
He added that the woman who had trafficked him forced him to keep quiet about what had happened, telling him “if you ever want to see your family again, don’t say anything”.
He was kept as a domestic servant before being allowed to start school at the age of 12. He eventually confided in his PE teacher who found him new Somali foster parents.
Sir Mo added: “Most people know me as Mo Farah but it’s not my name or it’s not the reality.
“The real story is I was born in Somaliland, north of Somalia, as Hussein Abdi Kahin. Despite what I’ve said in the past, my parents never lived in the UK.”
Sir Mo’s revelations about his unlawful entry and false name create a theoretical risk to his citizenship, although the Home Office insisted that “no action will be taken against Sir Mo” for breaching its rules on giving accurate information in declarations.
He said he had wanted to speak out to expose the trauma caused by trafficking and added: “I don’t think I was ever ready to say anything — not because you want to lie, but because you’re protecting yourself.”
His bravery was praised today by Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, who said he was “heartbroken” to hear about the “painful” experiences that Sir Mo had endured.