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Sport superstar Sir Mo Farah was trafficked to the UK as a child


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Read on - epaper ⋅ Ausgabe 9/2022 vom 30.08.2022
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1 MO FARAH is Great Britain’s most successful long-distance runner. Not only is he a brilliant sportsman, he is also known for his endearing personality. After winning a race, Farah would smile widely and put his hands over his head in an “M” shape, calling it a “Mobot”.

2 Farah has become a national treasure and, in 2017, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to athletics. 3 But this summer, the country was shocked to learn from the documentary “The Real Mo Farah” that the superstar athlete had been trafficked to Britain as a child.

4 The name Mohamed Farah is not his real name. It was taken from another boy whose documents were used to get him into the country. Farah’s real name is Hussein Abdi Kahin.

5 Farah’s father was killed in Somalia’s civil war when Farah ...

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... was four years old. His mother, fearing for all their lives, agreed to let him live with relatives in Djibouti when he was about eight. She thought he would remain there and live with an uncle. She didn’t know it would be the last time she would see her son for many years.

6 When he got to Djibouti, Farah was told he was going to fly to London with a woman he had never met. At first, Farah was excited. He had never been on a plane before and the woman said they were going to see his relatives there.

7 But it soon became clear to Farah that things weren’t as they seemed. “I had all the contact details for my relatives 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”, he said.

8 Farah says he had to do housework and childcare for the family he lived with in London “if I wanted food in my mouth”.

9 In the first years he was in England, Farah didn’t often go to school, but he started to go regularly when he was about 12. He would come to school looking unkempt, people who worked at the school said. He was withdrawn and the only language he seemed to understand was the language of sport.

10 His physical education teacher noticed Farah’s athletic talent and helped him develop it. Farah eventually told that teacher the truth about what had happened to him.

11 The teacher contacted social services and helped Farah to be fostered by another Somali family. “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”, Farah says.

12 Farah said he feared being deported if he told the truth publicly. The UK Home Office can take away British citizenship if it has been illegally obtained. But because he was a child at the time, Farah is not considered responsible for what happened, and the Home Office won’t take action.

13 Mo Farah is now 39, married, and the father of four. He said his wife gave him the support and courage to tell the truth about how he was brought to Britain and forced into domestic servitude. Farah hoped doing so would help other victims of trafficking find the courage to get help. And it seems it has.

14 Unseen UK, a trafficking charity, told BBC News that it saw a 20 per cent rise in calls after the documentary was shown on TV. Hearing about what happened to Farah was why they had reached out, some callers said.

0 – 1 TO BE TRAFFICKED (in)to a country als Opfer von Menschenhandel in ein Land verschleppt werden — slavery “"sleIv´ri‘ Sklaverei — to reveal öffentlich machen — to be forced into s.th. zu etw. gezwungen werden — domestic servitude “"s‰… vItSu…d‘ häusliche Sklaverei — successful “s´k"sesf´l‘ erfolgreich — long-distance runner Langstreckenläufer(in) — endearing liebenswert — personality “Æp‰…s´n"œl´ti‘ Persönlichkeit — widely breit — shape Form — Mobot = Mo + robot

2 – 6national treasure “"treZ´‘ Nationalheiligtum; h.: Person, auf die ein Land sehr stolz ist — to be knighted “"naItId‘ zum Ritter geschlagen werden — service(s) Dienst(e) — athletics “œT"letIks‘ Leichtathletik — to learn erfahren — athlete “"œTli…t‘ Sportler(in) — civil war “"sIv´l‘ Bürgerkrieg — to fear for one’s life um sein Leben fürchten — relative “"rel´tIv‘ Verwandte(r)

7 – 9to seem scheinen — once als — to rip s.th. up etw. zerreißen — bin Mülleimer — to be in trouble in Schwierigkeiten stecken — childcare Kinderbetreuung — regularly “"regj´l´li‘ regelmäßig — to look unkempt ungepflegt aussehen — withdrawn in sich gekehrt

10 – 11physical education (PE) “ÆfIzIk´l edZU"keIS´n‘ Sport(-) — to notice bemerken — to develop s.th. “dI"vel´p‘ etw. weiterentwickeln — eventually “I"ventSu´li‘ schließlich — truth Wahrheit — social services h.: Jugendamt — to be fostered by a family als Pflegekind in einer Familie leben — stuff Sachen; h.: Probleme — to lift (a burden) off s.o.’s shoulders (fig) jdm. eine Last von den Schultern nehmen

12 to deport s.o. jdn. abschieben — publicly öffentlich — Home Office Innenministerium — citizenship “"sItIz´nSIp‘ Staatsbürgerschaft — illegally obtained “I"li…g´li‘ illegal beschafft — to be considered s.th. “k´n"sId´d‘ als etw. angesehen werden — responsible “rI"spÅnts´b´l‘ verantwortlich — to take action Schritte einleiten

13 – 14support Unterstützung — courage “"kørIdZ‘ Mut — victimpfer — trafficking charity gemeinnützige Organisation gegen Menschenhandel — rise Zunahme — to reach out Kontakt aufnehmen; h.: sich Hilfe holen