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Two Tasks for Today’s Abolitionists

Despite decades of legal prohibitions, human trafficking continues to claim victims around the world. But while the religious cannot always pray at the same altar, the world's religions can and should act in unison to promote human dignity and defend universal freedoms.

VATICAN CITY – The scourge of human trafficking is an issue that leaders of all faiths must take very seriously. One of the first things that Pope Francis did when he was elected in March 2013 was to write to me, in my capacity as head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS), requesting that we study modern slavery and its solutions.

Nine months later, Francis convened religious leaders from around the world to declare that trafficking humans and their organs, and forced labor and prostitution, are crimes against humanity. In September 2015, world leaders echoed this conclusion when the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the Sustainable Development Goals – which include a target to end these practices.

For these and many other reasons, it is a moral imperative that the world work together to achieve the vision set by our religious and political leaders. With millions of people still victimized by modern forms of involuntary servitude, there is no time to waste.

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