Mo Farah’s bravery praised after trafficking revelation: His story needs to be heard
Sir Mo Farah’s “bravery” has been praised by charities and fans alike after he revealed he was brought into the UK illegally under the name of another child when he was just nine years old.
The athlete was commended for facing “unimaginable pain” in speaking out about his story while “shining a light” on global issues.
The four-time gold Olympic medal winner, who previously said he had come to London when he was eight to join his father, makes the revelations in a new BBC documentary titled The Real Mo Farah.
The runner said his children had motivated him to be truthful about his past.
The chief executive of the Refugee Council, Enver Solomon, praised the British athlete, saying: “We salute Sir Mo for his bravery in speaking out about his story.
Enver continued: "Like so many others he has faced unimaginable pain and by telling his story he is shining a light on global problems which require urgent and meaningful action.
“His candid account of the circumstances which brought him to the UK shows the world that behind every statistic there is a human story which needs to be heard.
“It is a story which sends a powerful message that rather than unworkable schemes which treat people as human cargo, there is a desperate need for safe, humane and effective routes for people seeking asylum.
“There are thousands of children who, like Sir Mo, have had their lives torn apart by war and persecution, many of whom are then cruelly exploited by traffickers."
Enver added that we should "respond with sympathy and not further cruelty – criminalising the victim is never the answer".
“Sir Mo has made an enormous contribution to UK life, just like thousands of others who arrive on our shores and build new lives and new connections in this country," they continued.
Fans of the Olympian have also praised his decision to tell his story in the new documentary.
One person tweeted: "The right reaction to the Mo Farah story is horror, revulsion, shock, understanding, admiration and support.
"The wrong reaction is s***e comments about his citizenship, medals or honours. If you are the latter, f**k off. You are not wanted in this country, Sir Mo very much is."
A second person wrote: "Absolutely heartbreaking and the concern has to be that there are countless other children in the same position. All love to Sir Mo."
Another fan said: "This makes his stunning rise to Olympic glory even more powerful. The man is one of our greatest ever athletes, and he’s often been denied the credit he deserves."
And a fourth said: "Extraordinary. Could Sir Mo Farah be any more impressive? It seems yes. He’s overcome so much. Incredible, heart breaking."
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