Ivanka Trump among brands at center of Chinese factory abuse investigation
Ivanka Trump's footwear is reportedly being manufactured in a Ganzhou factory where managers are allegedly using highly abusive practices towards employees.
In a recent investigation, three factory workers spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Two were former workers who still feared retribution if their identities were made public. The third is a current employee who works under cover for New York-based China Labor Watch, an independent organization that helps brands keep tabs on overseas social compliance.
All three of the workers saw a manager take a high heel shoe and beat an employee in the head with it. One worker said, “There was a lot of blood. [The injured worker] went to the factory’s nurse station, passing by me."
The factory, Ganzhou Huajian International Shoe City Co., has been at the center of an investigation of Ivanka Trump's brand. China Labor Watch has been inquiring into the brand's Chinese manufacturing practices for over a year now.
Currently Tory Burch, Kendall & Kylie (Jenner) and Karl Lagerfeld footwear licensee G-III Apparel Group also use this factory among other brands. Ann Taylor and G-III are now conducting independent investigations into Huajian in Ganzhou.
Last month, three investigators from China Labor Watch disappeared and were detained by the Chinese government. They were just released on bail this week at the end of the limit of their 30-day legally mandated detention period.
In addition to beatings, China Labor Watch founder Li Qiang said Huajian's Ganzhou is one of the worst factories he has seen. Pay at the factory can be as low as $1 an hour which violates China's labor laws. The factory bullies workers into signing fake pay stubs so as not to alert the government of its illegal practices.
Workers are forbidden to talk to outside sources to share how bad conditions are. Overtime typically extends to past midnight and workers frequently may only have one or two days off a month. Conditions have improved since the factory hit the global radar after the detentions were made public.
When asked as to the validity of the claims, Huajian said the allegations are “completely not true to the facts, taken out of context, exaggerated."
Ivanka Trump brand president Abigail Klem said the company has not used Huajian Ganzhou for manufacturing since March, the same time when Ivanka started her official role as a White House advisor. China Labor Watch has however obtained a production order dated in April for 1,000 Ivanka Trump shoes to be made in May at the factory.
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