British athlete and four-time Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah shocked the world in July 2022 when he revealed in a BBC documentary that he was trafficked to the U.K. as a child and forced into domestic labor.

Olympic Super-Star, Sir Mo Farah (Hussein Abdi Kahin) Victim of Trafficking

by Abigail Richardson from MY HERO Staff Writer

Sir Mohamed Muktar Jama Farah CBE born Hussein Abdi Kahin on 23 March 1983 is a popular British long-distance runner and four-time Olympic champion. His ten global championship gold medals (four Olympic and six world titles) make him the most successful male track distance runner ever, and he is the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history.

Farah is the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medalist in both the 5000 m and 10,000 m. He is the second athlete, after Lasse Virén, to win both the 5000 m and 10,000 m titles at successive Olympic Games. He also completed the 'distance double' at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships in Athletics. He was the first man to defend both distance titles in both major global competitions – a feat described as the 'quadruple-double'. 

After finishing second in the 10,000 meters at the 2011 World Championships, Farah had an unbroken streak of ten global final wins (the 5000m in 2011, the 10,000m in 2017 and the double in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016). The streak ended in Farah's final championship track race when he finished second to Ethiopia's Muktar Edris in the 2017 5000 meters final.

148775Mo FarrahWiki CommonsChild-Trafficking

In July 2022, Farah shocked the world when he announced that he was brought to the UK illegally as a child and forced to work as a domestic servant.

In a documentary about the star, Farah told the BBC he was given the name Mohamed Farah by those who flew him over from Djibouti but that his real name is Hussein Abdi Kahin. Farah had previously claimed that he moved to the UK as a child, with his parents as a refugee, but he revealed recently that this was not the case.  The truth is that his father was killed in a civil war in Somalia when he was 4 years old and at about the age of eight or nine, he was taken from his home to stay with a family in Djibouti. He was then flown over from East Africa at the age of nine by ‘a woman he had never met and made to look after another family's children.’[i]

"For years I just kept blocking it out," he stated, "but you can only block it out for so long." Farrah explained that he wanted to tell his story to challenge public perceptions of trafficking and slavery: "I had no idea there were so many people ... going through exactly the same thing that I did. What really saved me, what made me different, was that I could run."

Athletic Career

For the first few years that Farah was in Britain, he was not allowed to go to school, but when he was around 11 or 12, he went to a public school in Feltham, London where his athletic ability was first identified by his PE teacher, Alan Watkinson. Watkinson, having observed Farrah’s dishevelled appearance and reticent nature, contacted social services and helped Farrah to be fostered by another Somali family. Said Farrah: "I still missed my real family, but from that moment everything got better. 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."[ii]

148776Cross CountryWiki CommonsAt the age of 13, Farrah entered the English schools' cross-country and finished ninth. The following year, he won the first of five English school titles. Recognizing his talent, athletics philanthropist Eddie Kulukundis paid the legal fees to complete Farah's naturalization. He gained British citizenship in July 2000. A barrister has since told him that there was a real risk that he might lose his British nationality as it was obtained by misrepresentation, but the Home Office has assured him that he will not face any repercussions as it was ‘assumed a child was not complicit when citizenship was gained by deception.’

Farah's first major title was in the 5000 meters at the European Athletics Junior Championship in 2001, the same year that he began training at St Mary's University in Twickenham – a college dedicated to encouraging British sporting hopefuls. He was one of the first athletes to attend the Endurance Performance Centre where he lived, trained, and studied before becoming a full-time athlete.

In 2017, Farah announced that he would switch from track events to the marathon, and in 2018, he came third in the London Marathon in a time of 2:06:22 but won at the Chicago Marathon, in the same year, setting a new European record of 2 hours 5 minutes and 11 seconds.

Today, Farrah is a dedicated family man who lives and trains in Southwest London with his wife and their four children. (He famously dedicated each of his four Olympic gold medals to his four children.[iii]) His mother and two brothers currently live on their family farm in Somaliland. He continues to compete and, not surprisingly, succeed predominantly in half-marathons across the UK.  


In 2011, Farah and his wife Tania set up the Mo Farah Foundation, a charity focused on health improvement, education and the alleviation of poverty in Africa and the UK. The charity, however, was closed in 2016 due to a lack of substantial funding and the benefits of professional management.[v]



[ii] Ibid.









Page created on 7/12/2022 4:34:31 PM

Last edited 7/19/2022 4:09:55 PM

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