The Home Secretary Theresa May has appointed Kevin Hyland as the UK’s first ever Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.
Mr Hyland, the former head of the Metropolitan Police’s world renowned Human Trafficking Unit, has over 30 years’ experience investigating organised crime and has worked closely with slavery victims to secure a number of key prosecutions of perpetrators.
The newly-created role will see him spearhead the UK’s fight against modern slavery, with a concerted focus on strengthening law enforcement efforts in the UK and internationally and helping to ensure that public authorities identify and support slavery victims effectively.
The creation of an independent commissioner is one of the main provisions of the landmark Modern Slavery Bill, currently going through Parliament. Mr Hyland will act as designate Commissioner until the Bill achieves Royal Assent, expected to be next year. His work will complement the already existing role of Victims’ Commissioner.
Home Secretary Theresa May said: “The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner will play a crucial role in driving improvements in the law enforcement response to modern slavery and the protection of victims.
“I am grateful to Kevin Hyland for undertaking this challenging and exciting work and know that he will make a real difference. His background in dealing with some of the most serious modern slavery crimes as head of the Metropolitan Police’s Human Trafficking Unit makes him ideally suited to the task and I know he shares my determination to rid the UK of the evil of slavery.”
Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner Kevin Hyland said: “I have seen first-hand how modern slavery can devastate lives and rid people of their dignity and humanity.
“I am proud to take up this position to work in the interests of these brave victims and to prevent more people becoming victims in the first place.
“I look forward to beginning this important work.”
The Commissioner will have a UK-wide remit, ensuring that modern slavery issues are tackled in a coordinated and effective manner across the whole of the UK. He will work closely with law enforcement agencies, local authorities and third sector organisations to encourage good practice in the identification of victims and the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of modern slavery crimes, including international collaboration. The Commissioner will act strongly in the interests of victims – and potential victims – by making sure that the law enforcement response to modern slavery is focused, coordinated and effective.
The role will be independent and will be required to publish annual reports for Parliamentary scrutiny.