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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Chiara Giordano

Mo Farah: All I ever wanted as a kid was to be with my parents

Ahmed Fais/BBC/PA

Sir Mo Farah has said all he wanted as a child was to be with his parents after revealing he was trafficked to the UK at the age of nine.

The four-time Olympic champion, 39, has told of how a woman brought him to Britain from Somalia illegally after his father was killed in the civil war and he was separated from his mother.

In a BBC documentary set to air on Wednesday night, the father-of-four revealed he was given a false name and taken to Hounslow in west London to work as a family’s domestic servant.

“I wasn’t allowed to play with any other kids, I wasn’t allowed to be myself,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “I had to cook, clean, and that was... that was tough for me. And all I ever wanted as a kid was to have my parents, or to have people that will care for you.

“Early on, I knew at that point, no-one was going to be there for me, so I just learned to block it out. On a day-to-day basis it was all around them, it wasn’t about me. Cook, clean, pick them up, change diapers – everything you can think of, I was doing it.”

Farah with his mother Aisha during the filming in Somaliland of the BBC documentary (Ahmed Fais/BBC/PA)

He was later helped to obtain UK citizenship by his school PE teacher Alan Watkinson, while still using the name Mohamed Farah, and moved to live with his friend’s mother Kinsi Farah for seven years.

In the documentary, titled The Real Mo Farah, the athlete said he was born in Somaliland as Hussein Abdi Kahin and that his parents never lived in the UK, despite what he has said in the past.

Farah, who became the first British track and field athlete to win four Olympic gold medals, said his children have motivated him to be truthful about his past.

The four-time Olympic champion revealed he was given a false name and taken to Hounslow in west London to work as a family’s domestic servant (Andy Boag/BBC/PA)

During the documentary, Farah said he thought he was travelling to Europe to live with relatives and recalled going through a UK passport check under the guise of Mohamed at the age of nine.

He said: “I had all the contact details for my relative and once we got to her house, the lady took it off me and right in front of me ripped them up and put it in the bin and at that moment I knew I was in trouble.”

The athlete travelled back to his childhood home in Hounslow recalling “not great memories” where he was not treated as part of the family.

The athlete said he was born in Somaliland as Hussein Abdi Kahin and his parents never lived in the UK (Mike Egerton/PA )

He said: “If I wanted food in my mouth my job was to look after those kids, shower them, cook for them, clean for them, and she said, ‘If you ever want to see your family again, don’t say anything. If you say anything, they will take you away.’

“So she told you, don’t talk about anything otherwise I was in big trouble and I guess for me the only things that I could do, in my control, was to run away from this, was get out and run.”

The Metropolitan Police has said it is “assessing” Farah’s allegations that he was trafficked into the UK as a child and forced to work as a domestic servant but that no reports have been made to the force.

The Home Office has said it will not take action against him after he revealed he was trafficked into the UK.

The Real Mo Farah will air at 9pm on BBC One on 13 July.

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