Representatives from diverse religious faiths earlier this month signed a declaration of their collective will to end modern-day slavery by 2020. The declaration was the focus of a Vatican initiative that is seeking ways to stop human trafficking, organ trafficking, forced labor, child marriage and forced prostitution — modern forms of the ancient scourge of slavery. Their call against these crimes against humanity was an important one for the 35.8 million people enslaved across the world.

The declaration was signed by Hindu, Buddhist, Anglican, Orthodox, Jewish, Shiite and Sunni Muslim leaders, a variety of religious faiths with a universal consensus on the issue. Clearly all the signatories agreed that slavery, defined as the complete and violent control of one person by another for economic gain, goes against the core tenets of their faith. Their declaration was a first step to end the horrifying conditions millions are suffering.

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