The Salvation Army International Development UK is an umbrella term for the community development work that The Salvation Army United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland supports around the world. This work is divided into five themes, three of which sit within the International Projects Office (Clean Water, Food Security and Income Generation), and two of which sit within Anti-Trafficking & Modern Slavery (Anti-Trafficking and Gender Justice).
On this page, you will find information about our Gender Justice theme, stories from our projects and resources (coming soon) to help you raise funds and awareness about this issue within your community.
Outreach support in local brothels, Bangladesh
In the heart of Jessore, along a bustling street, directly opposite the city’s sprawling mass of brothels, sits The Salvation Army’s Health Care and Counselling Centre (HCCC).
The Salvation Army has had a presence in this area for over 20 years and has adapted its response in order to support people in the most appropriate way whilst also proactively working to address the source of the problems. At the beginning of 2018, the HCCC project entered a new phase which formalised partnerships with other local organisations.
The Salvation Army runs an outreach support programme within the brothels – raising awareness about trafficking, providing adult literacy lessons and preparing women for life outside the brothel – but it also works with different organisations that provide full-time employment.
Rina* is 30 years old and comes from the Serajganj district of central Bangladesh. Rina’s parents were very poor, and when she was just seven years old they gave her to a home in another village to work as a housemaid. Rina was made to work long days, sometimes for 24 hours straight, she was not able to attend school and was rarely allowed to visit her family.
Rina then moved and began to work for a different member of the community. Again, she was made to work long hours as a housemaid and was treated badly and beaten.
One day, when Rina was shopping for the family with a fellow housemaid in Jessore, they saw some women outside a brothel. Rina received only 20 taka (about 17p) per month as a housemaid, and her friend suggested they too join the brothel so they could earn more money. At the age of 14, hoping for a colourful life, Rina joined the brothel.
When Rina was working under a shordarni (madam), she was told not to speak with the Salvation Army outreach workers. Rina did not want to continue in this work, but stayed there for seven years. After some time, Rina became independent from the shordani and began coming to the Salvation Army centre.
Rina remained in the brothel for a number of years. She then met and married a man and left the brothel. They rented a house in Jessore for a few years before returning to her husband’s village. However, Rina discovered that her husband had a second wife. Rina’s husband beat her every day and she often quarrelled with his other wife.
Rina did not have any children, and so, no longer wanting to remain in the village, she returned to Jessore alone. Once again Rina began communicating with The Salvation Army and began learning basic tailoring. She had absolutely nothing when she left her husband, so The Salvation Army assisted her in getting a carpet and kitchen items for her home. Rina said, ‘With The Salvation Army I am happy with my journey in life.’
The Salvation Army linked Rina to Basha, a local charity and business which employs women who have been trafficked and provides economic independence as part of their recovery journey. She is utilising the tailoring skills she gained with The Salvation Army, continuing in her learning and earning a living producing textiles. With a secure and steady source of income, Rina has been able to put her former life behind her and has renewed hope and a strengthened sense of self-worth.
Other Gender Justice Projects
The Salvation Army is supporting a number of gender justice projects around the world such as group therapy for survivors of domestic violence in Argentina, and women’s advocacy in Pakistan. Contact us if you would like to find out more.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a direct debit to support this work.