Ivanka Trump Exposed: Labor Exploitation Uncovered at Chinese Clothing Factory
Human rights abuse At Ivanka Trump’s clothing Factory
A recent report by Drew Harwell and Matea Gold in The Washington Post has exposed human rights abuse and labor exploitation at the Chinese factory used for Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. According to the report, workers at the factory endure long hours and very low wages in service of making Ivanka’s business a multimillion-dollar one. The information came from a factory audit that was released on Monday, in which it was stated that workers endured around 60 hours a week with a salary of little more than $62. As told by WaPo:
“The factory’s 80 workers knit clothes for the contractor, G-III Apparel Group, which has held the exclusive license to make the Ivanka Trump brand’s $158 dresses, $79 blouses and other clothes since 2012. The company also makes clothes for Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and other brands.”
In October last year, inspectors with the Fair Labor Association (a monitoring group that looks into violations of human rights and labor exploitation of multinational companies like Nike) found two dozen violations of international labor standards. Among these were workers facing extremely long hours, high turnover, and salaries close to or even below China’s minimum wage. Until now, neither Trump’s company nor G-III have commented.
“Workers at the G-III factory in China were required to work 57 hours a week “on a regular basis” to hit production targets, inspectors found. Though Chinese law sets the limit for overtime at 36 hours per month, workers in all of the factory’s departments exceeded that limit, working up to 82 hours of overtime a month between September 2015 and August 2016. The factory’s workers made between 1,879 and 2,088 yuan a month, or roughly $255 to $283, which would be below minimum wage in some parts of China. The average manufacturing employee in urban China made twice as much money as the factory’s workers, or roughly 4,280 yuan a month, according to national data from 2014.”
Information like the factory’s name and location were not provided by the audit report, but it is known that Chinese factories are the dominant suppliers of Ivanka Trump’s clothes, although some pieces also come from factories in other countries. Since October, WaPo’s report says that according to shipping data, G-III factories overseas have shipped over 110 tons of Ivanka-brand blouses, skirts, dresses and other garments to the U.S. Ivanka Trump’s company partnered with G-III in 2012, and they have since become the sole licensor of the President’s daughter’s clothing line.
Yet long hours and low wages are not the only violations found. It was also reported that less than a third of the workers were covered under China’s social insurance benefits, which include pension and medical, maternity, unemployment and work-related injury insurance. No worker received the legally required fund to help them afford housing, either. Additionally, workers only have five days of leave a year and they do not have a union. Harwell also reported:
“Inspectors also cited the factory for a number of workplace safety concerns. It did not train loading workers on safety techniques or provide employees with equipment that could reduce injury, including lifting belts or seats with backrests. The factory, which began operating in 1992, had also never sought an assessment of occupational disease hazards like those common among workers dealing with repetitive tasks and harsh chemicals.”
This information comes as Trump spoke (and was booed) on Tuesday in Berlin alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and other female leaders on women’s entrepreneurship. Nevertheless, it seems Ivanka Trump’s entrepreneurial spirit comes at the cost of abusing others.
Featured image via Pool/Getty Images News
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From Mexico City, Carolina has lived in five different countries, experiences she defines as the most enriching. She has focused her studies and work on international conflicts and international security issues, diplomacy and protocol. Carolina holds two MA degrees and hopes to begin her PhD studies soon.