Kevin Hyland

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Kevin Hyland OBE

Kevin Hyland, OBE (born 1963) is the United Kingdom’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner,[1] leading efforts to tackle slavery and human trafficking. He was formerly head of the London Metropolitan Police Service’s Human Trafficking Unit.[2]

Police career[edit]

Hyland was a police officer for 30 years until retiring from the force as a detective inspector in 2014. As a detective Hyland specialised in various crimes throughout his policing career including homicide, gun crime, anti-corruption and then human trafficking and slavery. When working as a senior investigating officer, Hyland was responsible for the convictions of a large number of international organised crime groups,[which?] which included conducting multi-national JITs (joint investigation teams) bi-lateral prosecutions various criminal offences including money laundering, corruption, sexual exploitation and human trafficking.[3]

In 2010 Hyland was appointed as the lead for the London Metropolitan Police’s Human Trafficking Unit. During Hyland’s tenure the London Metropolitan Police saw an increase in victim identifications and successful prosecutions of traffickers.[3] He retired from the MPS in 2014 with the title of Detective Inspector, after some 30 years of service, in order to accept the position of "anti-slavery tsar".[4]

Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner[edit]

The creation of an Independent Commissioner is one of the main provisions of the UK's Modern Slavery Act 2015.[5] Hyland was appointed to the role in November 2014 and acted as 'designate' Commissioner until the Bill received Royal Assent in March 2015, when he became Commissioner.

The role complements the existing role of Victims' Commissioner to ensure that modern slavery issues are tackled in a coordinated and effective manner across the UK. He will work closely with law enforcement agencies, local authorities, third sector organisations and internationally to encourage good practice in the identification of victims and the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of modern slavery crimes, including international collaboration. The role requires published annual reports for Parliamentary scrutiny.[6][2]

Kevin Hyland alleges that young children are made to do begging, pickpocketing and shoplifting in a manner similar to what happens in the novel, Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Hyland maintains 151 convictions for slavery-related offences occurred in 2014 which he felt was far too few. Hyland claims police are doing too little to prevent contemporary slavery in the UK:

I see cases where I'm meeting victims and hear their cases have not been investigated properly. These are things that really need to change, what's really worrying is the numbers of investigations aren't sufficiently high. The reason why people are choosing this form of criminality is because there aren't the resources tackling it.

Hyland wants police forces to make dealing with slavery "one of the highest priorities".[7]

In 2016 Hyland urged members of the public in London to report any brothels and flats used for prostitution. He also called on ministers to deport foreign diplomats found to be keeping staff in slave conditions, and to implement reforms intended to make it easier for victims to escape abusive employers.[8]

Santa Marta Group[edit]

Hyland helped to establish the Santa Marta Group, a body comprising international law enforcement agencies, civil society, NGOs and the Catholic Church.[9]

The Group was launched by Pope Francis at the Vatican in April 2014, and is named after the Papal residence, where delegates stayed during the first meeting. At the launch Pope Francis described human trafficking as "an open wound on the body of contemporary society; a crime against humanity".[10]

The Group was developed by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales in collaboration with the London Metropolitan Police and is led by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster.[11]


Hyland was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for "services to Combating Human Trafficking" in the 2015 New Year Honours List.[12]


  1. ^ "Home". 8 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b Home Office (13 November 2014). "UK's first independent anti-slavery commissioner announced". Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b Thomson Reuters Foundation. "Trust Women - Kevin Hyland". Archived from the original on 9 February 2015.
  4. ^ Profile,; accessed 18 January 2014.
  5. ^ "Modern Slavery Bill 2014-15".
  6. ^ Profile,; accessed 6 February 2015.
  7. ^ "'Oliver Twist' children used in crime, warns anti-slavery commissioner". 1 June 2015 – via
  8. ^ Martin Bentham (7 September 2016). "Londoners urged to help police uncover brothels and protect women as sexual exploitation rises". Evening Standard. London. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  9. ^ Joanna Moorhead. "Meet the nun who helps police raid brothels run by human traffickers". the Guardian.
  10. ^ "Pope Francis: Human Trafficking, an open wound on society". 10 April 2014. Archived from the original on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  11. ^ "Home Secretary's speech at the Santa Marta conference".
  12. ^ Jane Dudman. "Public leaders recognised in New Year honours list". the Guardian.

External links[edit]

External video
UK calls for global effort to fight slavery, Matter Of Fact With Stan Grant, ABC News