VATICAN CITY — Religious leaders from a half-dozen faiths signed a new Vatican initiative Tuesday to end modern-day slavery by 2020, declaring that human trafficking, organ trafficking and forced labor and prostitution are crimes against humanity.

Pope Francis was joined by the Hindu guru Mata Amritanandamayi, known as Amma, as well as Buddhist, Anglican, Orthdox, Jewish, Shiite and Sunni Muslim leaders in signing a joint declaration at an unusually high-profile ceremony inside the Vatican.

The declaration commits the signatories to do everything in their power within their faith communities to work to free the estimated 35 million people enslaved across the world by 2020.

“In the eyes of God, each human being is a free person, whether girl, boy, woman or man, and is destined to exist for the good of all in equality and fraternity,” the declaration read.

Francis has made eliminating modern-day slavery one of the key priorities of his pontificate, inspired by his ministry in the slums of Buenos Aires. Earlier this year, the Vatican launched the Global Freedom Network, a multifaith initiative to encourage governments, businesses, educational and faith institutions to rid their supply chains of slave labor.

One of the network’s founding members, the Walk Free Foundation, estimates that five countries account for 61 percent of the world’s population living in slavery: India, with an estimated 14.2 million people enslaved, China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Russia.

Tuesday’s ceremony was held in a palazzo in the Vatican gardens.