June 16, 2014 7:30 am

Pope, archbishop of Canterbury battle trafficking

Pope Francis looks at Israel's President Shimon Peres, left, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas greet each other during an evening of peace prayers in the Vatican gardens, Sunday, June 8, 2014.

AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis and the archbishop of Canterbury have denounced human trafficking as a crime against human dignity and pledged both of their churches to combatting it.

Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the 80-million-strong Anglican Communion, met in private audience Monday and then prayed together in one of the Vatican chapels.

Francis called trafficking an “intolerable crime against human dignity,” while Welby said it urgently needed to end.

Despite deep opposition to the ordination of female Anglican bishops, the Vatican has sought to find areas of agreement where Catholics and Anglicans can work together. The fight against modern-day slavery is one such area, and a joint initiative involving Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the world’s foremost seat of Sunni learning, has become a high-profile initiative.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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