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Jewish Values and Human Trafficking

Maimonides, one of the greatest rabbinic voices of our tradition, spoke on the utter importance of helping and freeing those enslaved in a lifestyle that is beyond their control. The redemption of captives takes precedence to clothing and providing for the poor, for there is no greater mitzvah than redeeming the captives, since a captive is included in the category of the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, and the one whose life is in danger. One who ignores the responsibility to redeem a captive is transgressing the following Biblical commandments: 1) "Do not harden your heart and shut your hand"; 2) "Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor"; and 3) "Do not rule over your laborer ruthlessly." It also goes against the commandments to "open your hand to the poor" and the commandment to "let your brethren live by your side", the commandment to "love your neighbor as yourself" and to "not refrain from rescuing those taken off to death," and many similar commandments, and there is no greater mitzvah than redeeming the captive.