GLOBAL FREEDOM NETWORK
Address of The Most Revd and Right Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
CEREMONY FOR THE SIGNING OF THE JOINT DECLARATION OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS AGAINST SLAVERY
Casina Pio IV, Tuesday, 2 December 2014
At a time when faiths are seen wrongly as a cause of conflict is a sign of real hope that today global faith leaders have together committed themselves publicly to the battle to end modern slavery. We live in a world where over 30 million people are oppressed in some form of slavery – trafficking, forced labour and prostitution, the trade in human organs and many more outrages. The suffering is unimaginable. The challenge is acute and growing, facilitated by a globalised economy that is too easily without moral or conscience.
We gather to affirm a deep shared commitment for the liberation of those humiliated, abused and enslaved by their fellow-human beings. It is a challenge which must be undertaken in global partnership with others.
For Christians, commitment grows out of two fundamental convictions. First, God has made humanity in the divine image. No-one should be enslaved or denied the dignity of sharing actively and freely in the common life in which liberty is a part of creation.
The second conviction goes even further. Christians believe that the divine life was lived fully and uniquely in the flesh and blood of a human being, Jesus Christ, born through the willing co-operation of his mother Mary. And so we are bound to see every human being as part of the divine plan. This means that no human body can, in any circumstance, be simply an object to be traded, trafficked or enslaved. In Christ we find our liberation restored. God treated humanity with such loving respect by choosing to take human form among us – so we must share that love and respect for all human beings.
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