On 2 Decem­ber 2014 at the Casi­na Pio IV, head­quar­ters of the Pon­tif­i­cal Acad­e­mies of Sci­ences and Social Sci­ences, Catholic, Angli­can, Mus­lim, Hin­du, Bud­dhist, Jew­ish and Ortho­dox reli­gious lead­ers signed a Joint Dec­la­ra­tion of Reli­gious Lead­ers Against Mod­ern Slav­ery as a pub­lic state­ment of their com­mit­ment to work togeth­er in spir­i­tu­al and prac­ti­cal action to erad­i­cate this crime against human­i­ty and restore dig­ni­ty and free­dom to its vic­tims. Before the sign­ing of the Joint Dec­la­ra­tion each reli­gious leader described his or her moti­va­tions for adher­ing to this document.

Per­haps this was the first time that reli­gious lead­ers came togeth­er, adding to their inter­re­li­gious dia­logue, to make a com­mon state­ment to affirm that the oth­er is like you, that the oth­er must be rec­og­nized as such, and that you must treat oth­ers as you would have them treat you. You must love your neigh­bour as your­self. This means uphold­ing and defend­ing the true iden­ti­ty of human beings which is com­pro­mised by the glob­al­iza­tion of indif­fer­ence whose gravest con­se­quences can be seen in mod­ern forms of slav­ery and human traf­fick­ing – the sys­tem­at­ic depri­va­tion of a person’s lib­er­ty, and abuse of his or her body, for exam­ple through muti­la­tion or organ removal, for the pur­pos­es of com­mer­cial exploitation.

Look­ing to the future, our com­mit­ment is an expres­sion of sol­i­dar­i­ty with sub­se­quent gen­er­a­tions to whom we wish to leave a bet­ter world. Young peo­ple are with us and ask us for our sup­port to ensure that our gen­er­a­tion is the last gen­er­a­tion to have such a commitment.

We will con­tin­ue to invite world reli­gious lead­ers to unite their efforts by becom­ing sig­na­to­ries to this Joint Declaration.