Anti-slavery commissioner Kevin Hyland has announced he is stepping down from the job.
Hyland, appointed in 2014 to the newly-created position, said he was “taking up a new role in international development” in the summer.
“I am hugely proud to have been entrusted with the job of being the UK’s independent anti-slavery commissioner and humbled to have worked with such inspiring survivors and outstanding partners,” he said.
“Over the last four years the NGO, private sector and governmental partners with whom I have worked domestically and internationally have taken enormous strides to improve the lives of victims and to move towards systems that simply will not tolerate the heinous abuses of modern slavery.
“Much work remains, but I depart knowing that awareness both at the highest level and at that critical working level has never been greater. I am equally sure that the United Kingdom has moved into a role of thought leader and seminal actor on modern slavery.”
Hyland said among his achievements were a more than 100% increase in the identification of potential victims referred for support and a more than 500% rise in recorded crime, referring to an “unprecedented uplift” in policing operations. He said he was proud of “identifying and corresponding with non-compliant companies in the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 to ensure they adhere to section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act”.
In January this year Hyland expressed frustration in a letter to 25 FTSE 100 companies at the lack of engagement with slavery issues since the Modern Slavery Act 2015 came into force. The law requires all firms with turnover above £36m to report on efforts to tackle slavery in their supply chains.
In the letter Hyland said: “Despite some encouraging, positive change since the legislation came into force, 2016’s corporate modern slavery statements were patchy in quality, with some companies failing to produce them at all and others demonstrating little meaningful engagement with the issues.”
Prior to being commissioner Hyland was head of the Metropolitan Police's human trafficking unit.
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