On Tuesday, Ivanka Trump spoke at the 2017 United States Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, calling it a "clarion call into action in defense of the vulnerable and the exploited.”
Thousands of miles away, in a Chinese factory used by Trump's fashion brand, workers slaved away for long hours on high heels and booties, struggling through miserable conditions for low wages.
The Ganzhou Huajian International Shoe City Co., the factory responsible for building Ivanka Trump brand shoes, has a reputation of abuse and human rights violations among activist groups. Employees describe working well past midnight to meet unreasonable production quotas for wages well below China's labor law requirements. If they do not meet these impossible targets, their pay is docked.
Workers allege that beatings are a normal occurrence, but three who spoke with The Associated Press described an incident last year that stood out for its violence.
A manager battered an employee with the sharp end of a high heel until the man was bloody.
"He was bleeding right from the middle of the head,” one worker remembered.
"There was a lot of blood. He went to the factory’s nurse station, passing by me,” said another man, a former employee who quit his job at Huajian because of the inhumanely long hours and thankless pay.
At the TIP report, China was demoted to one of the lowest-ranking countries in the world for its human trafficking record.
Li Qiang, founder of New York-based human rights group China Labor Watch, told the AP that the Huajian's Ganzhou factory has some of the worst working conditions he's heard of in nearly two decades of investigating labor abuses. Last month, three activists working for the group infiltrated the factory to investigate its conditions as part of a larger investigation into Ivanka Trump's Chinese partnerships. The men were accused of trying to steal industry secrets and kept at a detention center in southeastern China but were released on bail on Wednesday pending a trial.
China Labor Watch outlined its findings in a letter, which it sent to Ivanka Trump at the White House in May, as well as other fashion labels that use Huajian's Ganzhou factory. They also forwarded Trump a video of a factory manager verbally abusing an employee who apparently was arranging shoes in the wrong order.
While a few brands like Ann Taylor and Marc Fisher have said that they take the findings seriously and are looking into the allegations, the group says they have gotten no response from brands like Naturalizer, Nine West, Tory Burch, BCBG Max Azria, Jessica Simpson, and Ivanka Trump.
While Trump has divested herself from her brand, she still has ownership stakes in it. Furthermore, she is the daughter of President Donald Trump, a position with no small amount of influence despite her claims that she tries "to stay out of politics."
If she truly cared about the lives of women, children, the working class, and those living in poverty as she insists she does, she could do something. Instead she stands before a room full of politicians and bureaucrats, providing lip service for issues she'll never take a stand on while impoverished people sew her name into shoes oceans away.