In ‘very moving’ documentary, Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah reveals he was trafficked to UK

Sir Mo Farah is a national treasure in the UK

The Somali-born hero of the 2012 London Olympics – he won gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 meter races – is one of the most accomplished athletes in British history. In 2017, Queen Elizabeth knighted Farah for her service to sport.

For most of Farah’s time in the spotlight, fans believed he arrived in the UK with his family as a refugee. This is the story he told on talk shows and in his 2013 autobiography, Twin ambitions.

Mo Farah, seen here at the British Athletics Championships in 2021, represented Britain at three consecutive Summer Olympics in 2008, 2012 and 2016. (Molly Darlington/Action Images via Reuters)

But it wasn’t the truth.

In a 2022 documentary, Farah reveals that strangers took him to the UK to work as a housekeeper when he was just nine years old. His own mother says she didn’t even know he was kicked out of his uncle’s house in Djibouti, where he was sent to live after his father died in Somalia’s civil war.

Five-star critics call the documentary ‘stunning’ and say it leaves viewers ‘bewildered by the true story of his life’

The real Mo Farah premiered on the BBC on July 13, 2022, to wide acclaim. The Guardian gave the film a five star reviewcalling it « beautifully done and often heartbreaking » and « hugely moving ».

The Independent also rated the film five stars. « This breathtaking documentary will leave you bruised and perplexed, » wrote Sean O’Grady. « Revelation after revelation, detail after detail and with one harrowing emotional confession leading to another, the viewer is intoxicated, bewildered by the true story of their life. »

Reviewing the documentary for the i, a British morning newspaper, Emily Baker wrote« It was a delicate and useful film that told an extraordinary story without sensationalism. While it was an intensely personal journey for Farah, it also spoke volumes about the trauma carried by the victims of domestic servitude and of trafficking. »

Calls to anti-trafficking hotline increased after documentary aired in UK

After the documentary aired on the BBC, anti-slavery charity Unseen UK reported a 20% increase in calls to its modern slavery and exploitation helpline.

Charity Director Justine Carter told BBC News that some callers said hearing Farah’s story prompted them to reach out.

“People feel very alone and isolated when they themselves are in this situation, so knowing that someone else has been a victim of this type of crime – and still suffers from all the experiences they have had. in their childhood – I think that’s really crucial, » she said.

Farah traces her life in search of answers

The real Mo Farah follows Farah as he explores his own extraordinary story and tries to piece together how he ended up being trafficked to the UK

He visits the school in West London where his PE teacher identified him as a phenomenal young athlete – but wondered what was going on at home.

mo farah tania nell
In the documentary, Farah traces her life in search of answers. His first stop is school where he stood out as a gifted athlete. Here, Farah reviews her student records with his wife (and former classmate) Tania Nell. (Andy Boag/Red Bull Studios)

He returns to his family’s village in Somaliland to ask his mother and twin brother what they know about the traumatic event in his childhood that changed his life forever.

And finally, he turns to the Somali community in London, hoping they can help him understand the mystery at the heart of his life.

look The real Mo Farah on The Passionate Eye: Friday, October 14 at 9 p.m.

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