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.