Sir Mo Farah – From Slavery to Triumph

File:Mo Farah Helsinki 2012-2.jpg

Mo Farah at 2012 European Athletics Championships in Helsinki,
Author Erik van Leeuwen

(Image modified by MachoCarioca)
(GNU Free Documentation License)

Four-time Olympic champion, Sir Mohamed Farah, has revealed in a BBC documentary that he was trafficked as a child, and forced into slavery in London [1][2][3A][4].


Born Hussein Abdi Kahin, Farah lost his father to a civil war in Somaliland at the age of four.  Separated from his mother, he was brought illegally to the United Kingdom by a stranger at the age of nine, and forced to work as a domestic servant.

Citizenship and Freedom

Farah was not allowed to attend school until around age twelve.  The school was told he was a Somali refugee.

Physical education teacher, Alan Watkinson, was the first to notice Farah’s outstanding athletic talent.  Farah eventually told Watkinson the truth about his past, and moved in with a friend’s family.  It was Watkinson who helped Farah apply for British citizenship.

Sports Victories

Farah’s first major title came in 2001 at the European Athletics Junior Championship, where he won the 5000 meter race.

Since then, he has won countless competitions, earning ten global gold medals (four Olympic and six World titles), and becoming the most successful male long-distance runner ever.

In acknowledgment of his accomplishments, Farah was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2017.

Family and Integrity

“Family means everything to me and, you know, as a parent, you always teach your kids to be honest, but I feel like I’ve always had that private thing where I could never be me and tell what’s really happened [3B].”

-Sir Mohamed Farah

As an adult, Farah has been able to reconnect with his birth family.

Farah was counseled that he could forfeit his citizenship if the technical misrepresentations on his citizenship application came to light.

As a measure of his integrity, Farah decided, nonetheless, to share his story for the sake of his children.  It is understood that the British government will take no adverse action against him.

[1]  Wikipedia, “Mo Farah”,

[2]  9 News, “Mo Farah not my real name, Olympic champion reveals in BBC documentary”, 7/12/22,

[3A and 3B]  Independent, “Sir Mo Farah reveals he was illegally trafficked to UK as a child and reveals his real name” by Ellie Iorizzo, 7/12/22,

[4]  BBC News, “Sir Mo Farah reveals he was trafficked to the UK as a child” by Ashitha Nagesh,

The new suicide hotline in the United States is 988.




Filed under Child Abuse, Emotional Abuse, human trafficking, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Slavery, Sports

7 responses to “Sir Mo Farah – From Slavery to Triumph

  1. Nice and very inspiring story.

  2. Now that was courage to tell the truth and risk it all.

  3. Wow! Thank you for sharing this amazing story of recovery.

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