Olympic Gold Medalist Mo Farah Reveals He Was Trafficked And Forced Into Child Labor

Mo Farah, 39, believed he was going to the United Kingdom to live with family. Instead, he was forced to be a caretaker.

Britain's Mo Farah celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's 10,000-meter final during the athletics competitions of the 2016 Summer Olympics at the Olympic stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016.

Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah has disclosed he was brought into Britain illegally from Djibouti under the name of another child.

Photo by: Associated Press

Associated Press

With ten global championships — four Olympic medals and six World titles — Sir Mo Farah is one of the most successful British track athletes of all time, but in July 2022, he opened up about a dark past.

According to the BBC, Farah was brought to the UK illegally as a child and worked as a domestic servant. He was born in present-day Somaliland, a territory that has declared independence from Somali, but was separated from his family, at age 8, and trafficked from Djibouti to the UK.

His birth name, Hussein Abdi Kahin, was stripped from him and he was given the name Mohamed Farah.

“For years I kept blocking it out but you can only block it out for so long,” Farah told the BBC.

The Olympic star had previously said he came to the UK from Somalia, as a refugee, but in a BBC documentary, he revealed his parents have never traveled to the UK and his family still lives in Somaliland, according to the AP.

“It is certainly sad that Mo Farah had such a bad experience as a boy,” said Ahmed Dini, who runs the Mogadishu-based children’s rights group Peace-Line, told the AP. “It has become evident that there are many contributing factors to child trafficking, such as poverty, a lack of adequate education, and insufficient security.”

In the documentary, Farah explained he thought he was going to Europe to live with relatives. He had a piece of paper with contact details but the woman he ended up with ripped up his papers and forced him to care for her children in West London.

"Right in front of me, she ripped it up and put it in the bin. At that moment, I knew I was in trouble," he said in the documentary.

The AP reported that in the documentary, it’s revealed that Farah’s saving grace was attending school. When he was 12, he told a teacher his living conditions and authorities arranged for him to live with a Somalian foster family.

"I still missed my real family, but from that moment everything got better," Sir Mo says. "I felt like a lot of stuff was lifted off my shoulders, and I felt like me. That's when Mo came out — the real Mo,” Farah recalled.

Farah would go on to run track and represent Britain in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympic games.

"What really saved me, what made me different, was that I could run,” Farah said.