Police chief Kevin Hyland, 51, a Catholic who has worked with many church organisations in fighting human trafficking, has been appointed Britain’s first anti-slavery tsar. Among new initiatives he is involved with is the opening of a support centre for trafficking victims, Caritas Bakhita House, which will be church-funded.
In April 2010 Det Insp Hyland was appointed the operational lead for the establishment of the Metropolitan Police Human Trafficking response and he retired this summer.
Police chiefs from 25 countries and church representatives – many of them women Religious – will meet in London on 5 and 6 December to discuss combating human trafficking, Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols said at a press conference last Friday.
The gathering – of the so-called Santa Marta Group – is at the invitation of the cardinal, Home Secretary Theresa May, and Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police commissioner.
Det Insp Hyland was one of the founders of the Santa Marta Group, a high-level strategic partnership between international law enforcement agencies, the Catholic Church and civil society.
The group is named after the house in the Vatican where members stayed during a two-day conference on trafficking last year in the Vatican organised by the bishops of England and Wales.
Those attending that conference stayed in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis’ residence.
Listen to Det Insp Hyland's address to the Combating Human Trafficking conference in Rome on 10 April 2014 here.