Olympic gold winner Mo Farah claims he was trafficked to the United Kingdom under a false name and forced into child labor, giving astonishing details about the difficult journey that led to his knighthood.
“Most people know me as Mo Farah, but that’s not my name — or, more accurately, it’s not the reality,” Farah says in a new documentary on the track star.
“The genuine story is that I was born Hussein Abdi Kahin in Somaliland, north of Somalia,” he explained.
Farah has previously stated that he fled to the United Kingdom with his parents as a young child to escape the war in Somalia. But he now claims that his father died when Farah was four years old, leaving him estranged from his mother and other relatives.
“I was smuggled into the United Kingdom illegally under the name of another child, Mohammed Farah,” he explained. He was perhaps 8 or 9 years old at the time.
The BBC and Red Bull Studios video includes footage of visa documents with Farah’s photo and another child’s name that he claims were forged.
“I know I’ve taken someone else’s place. And I do wonder, what is Mohammed doing now?” he said in the documentary, clips of which are posted on the BBC’s website.
Farah had been assured by the woman who had brought him to the UK that he would soon join his relatives in the country. He was carrying a sheet of paper with the contact information for his family members written on it. However, when the woman arrived, she tore up the paper and threw it away.
“What the lady did wasn’t right,” Farah stated.
Farah recalled being exploited and intimidated while working in another family’s home. He was forced to cook, clean, and care for other children there, and he was ordered to keep quiet about his true origins or the authorities would take him away.
“I’d often lock myself in the bathroom and cry since no one was there to help. So, after a while, I just learnt not to feel that way “He stated.
The famed runner claims that only his extraordinary ability and good fortune protected him from human trafficking and forced labor. When he was finally allowed to attend school, his abilities rapidly grabbed the attention of a teacher who bonded with him — and who then assisted Farah in being put in a foster home with another Somali family.
Farah, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2017, says he’s speaking up now about what he went through to increase public awareness about other people in similar situations.
According to the BBC, it attempted to contact the woman who brought Farah into the country for her version of the tale, but she has not responded.