An unprecedented gathering of religious leaders from all corners of the globe took place in the Vatican last Tuesday for the signing of the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders against Modern Slavery, pledging to eradicate modern slavery by 2020. The signing marks the beginning of a five-year push in churches, mosques, synagogues and temples across the world to send a message that slavery is forbidden by God – every God.
Pope Francis (front 3rd R) with religious leaders during a meeting at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican December 2, 2014
Pope Francis joined Anglican, Orthodox, Jewish, Shia and Sunni Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist representatives in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, together with two young trafficking victims from Mexico and Ghana. These faith leaders were brought together by the Global Freedom Network (GFN), a faith-based network with a vision and purpose to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking globally. The Vatican launched GFN in March with signatories from Casina Pio IV, Lambeth Palace, Al Azhar Mosque and Walk Free Foundation. GFN has now invited religious leaders of all faiths and nations to add their names to this declaration.
This gathering of religious leaders in the Vatican today represents around 90 percent of the world’s population and the declaration they signed commits their communities to working together for the freedom of all people and an end to this lucrative trade in human life.