Alumnus of St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Sir Mo Farah won the 2023 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Television Award for best Single Documentary.
Sir Mo won the award for The Real Mo Farah, which was broadcast on BBC One in 2022,revealing for the first time his experience of human trafficking and modern slavery. Since the documentary aired, Sir Mo has also become the first Patron of the Bakhita Centre for Research on Slavery, Exploitation and Abuse at St Mary’s.
Sir Mo has a long relationship with St Mary’s and trained, studied, and lived at the University from 2001-2011. He began campaigning against human trafficking and modern slavery following his decision in 2022 to reveal he himself was a victim of these crimes. Sir Mo was trafficked to the UK from Djibouti at the age of eight and forced to work in domestic servitude until he was ultimately able to escape when he confided in his teacher.
Speaking at the Ceremony Sir Mo said, “It’s an honour to receive this, and I am dedicating this to all of the children who have been child trafficked…the kids have no say at all, they are just kids, and I think no child should ever go through what I did. I hope that this will make changes and I hope my story just shows they’re not just alone, we’re in it together.”
Speaking of the impact of the documentary, producer Leo Burley added, “Six million people watched this on BBC One a film about trafficking and we were really proud that that many people came to this story. I want to thank Mo and his family to who have humanised what has become a really vicious story about trafficking and human debate.”
The Bakhita Centre was founded in 2015 to conduct research on modern slavery and human trafficking, to influence practice and policy, and to raise awareness across the University, in local communities and further afield. The Centre aims to broaden the University’s research on global issues that intersect with modern slavery, including gender-based violence, sexual and other forms of exploitation, abuse and discrimination based on structural inequalities, race, ethnicity, asylum seeking/refugee and migrant status.