La­bor con­di­tions rais­ing con­cerns

The Washington Post Sunday - - THE WORLD -­ drew.harwell@wash­

Those global jour­neys — along with mil­lions of pounds of Ivanka Trump prod­ucts im­ported into the United States in more than 2,000 ship­ments since 2010 — il­lus­trate how her busi­ness prac­tices col­lide with some of the key prin­ci­ples she and her fa­ther have cham­pi­oned in the White House.

While Pres­i­dent Trump has chas­tised com­pa­nies for out­sourc­ing jobs over­seas, an ex­am­i­na­tion by The Wash­ing­ton Post has re­vealed the ex­tent to which Ivanka Trump’s com­pany re­lies ex­clu­sively on for­eign fac­to­ries in coun­tries such as Bangladesh, In­done­sia and China, where low-wage la­bor­ers have lim­ited abil­ity to ad­vo­cate for them­selves.

And while Ivanka Trump pub­lished a book this spring declar­ing that im­prov­ing the lives of work­ing women is “my life’s mis­sion,” The Post found that her com­pany lags be­hind many in the ap­parel in­dus­try when it comes to mon­i­tor­ing the treat­ment of the largely fe­male work­force em­ployed in fac­to­ries around the world.

From big brands such as Adi­das and Ken­neth Cole to smaller, newer play­ers like Cal­i­for­nia-based Ever­lane, many U.S. cloth­ing com­pa­nies have in re­cent years made pro­tect­ing fac­tory work­ers abroad a pri­or­ity — hir­ing in­de­pen­dent au­di­tors to mon­i­tor la­bor con­di­tions, press­ing fac­tory own­ers to make im­prove­ments and pro­vid­ing con­sumers with de­tails about the over­seas fa­cil­i­ties where their goods are pro­duced.

But the Trump brand has taken a more hands-off ap­proach. Al­though ex­ec­u­tives say they have a code of con­duct that pro­hibits phys­i­cal abuse and child la­bor, the com­pany re­lies on its sup­pli­ers to abide by the pol­icy.

The cloth­ing line de­clined to dis­close the lan­guage of the code.

Trump, who now works full time in the White House, has stepped away from daily operations of her busi­ness. She has as­sumed a high­pro­file place on the world stage — a role that was on dis­play last weekend when she briefly filled in for her fa­ther dur­ing a meet­ing with for­eign lead­ers, seated be­tween the pres­i­dent of China and the Bri­tish prime min­is­ter.

Trump still owns her com­pany, which has faced in­creas­ing scru­tiny in re­cent months for its use of over­seas fac­to­ries, and her rep­re­sen­ta­tives have said she has the power to veto new deals.

Trump did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment about what ef­forts she made to over­see her com­pany’s sup­ply chain be­fore she joined the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Her at­tor­ney Jamie Gore­lick told The Post in a state­ment that Trump is “concerned” about re­cent re­ports re­gard­ing the treat­ment of fac­tory work­ers and “ex­pects that the com­pany will re­spond ap­pro­pri­ately.”

In the wake of Trump’s de­par­ture, the brand has be­gun to ex­plore hir­ing a non­profit work­ers’ rights group to in­crease over­sight of its pro­duc­tion and help im­prove fac­tory condi- tions, the com­pany’s ex­ec­u­tives told The Post.

Abi­gail Klem, who has been a top ex­ec­u­tive at the brand since 2013 and its pres­i­dent since Jan­uary, said she is plan­ning her first trip to tour some of the fa­cil­i­ties that make Ivanka Trump prod­ucts in the com­ing year.

Klem said she is con­fi­dent that the com­pany’s sup­pli­ers op­er­ate “at the high­est stan­dards,” adding, “Ivanka sought to part­ner with the best in the in­dus­try.”

The com­pany had not yet matched the poli­cies of other la­bels be­cause it was newer and smaller, she added, but is now fo­cus­ing on what more it can do.

“The mis­sion of this brand has al­ways been to in­spire and em­power women to cre­ate the lives they want to live and give them tools to do that,” Klem said. “We’re look­ing to en­sure that we can sort of live this mis­sion from top to bot­tom with our li­censees, with our sup­ply chain.”

The com­pany still has no im­me­di­ate plans to fol­low the emerg­ing in­dus­try trend of pub­lish­ing the names and lo­ca­tions of fac­to­ries that pro­duce its goods. It de­clined to pro­vide a list of the fa­cil­i­ties.

The Post used data drawn from U.S. cus­toms logs and in­ter­na­tional ship­ping records to trace Trump­branded prod­ucts from far-flung fac­to­ries to ports around the United States. The Post also in­ter­viewed work­ers at three gar­ment fac­to­ries that have made Trump prod­ucts who said their jobs of­ten come with ex­haust­ing hours, sub­sis­tence pay and in­sults from su­per­vi­sors if they don’t work fast enough.

“My monthly salary is not enough for every­day ex­penses, also not for the fu­ture,” said a 26-year-old sewing ma­chine op­er­a­tor in Subang, In­done­sia, who said she has helped make Trump dresses.

Like many U.S.-based ap­parel com­pa­nies, the Trump brand signs deals with sup­pli­ers, which, in turn, con­tract man­u­fac­tur­ing work to fac­to­ries around the world. The sys­tem al­lows prod­ucts to be sold to con­sumers for lower prices and cre­ates eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity — and risks — for work­ers in poor re­gions.

In China, where three ac­tivists in­ves­ti­gat­ing fac­to­ries mak­ing her line were re­cently ar­rested, assem­bly-line work­ers pro­duce Ivanka Trump wo­ven blouses, shoes and hand­bags. La­bor­ers in In­done­sia stitch to­gether her dresses and knit tops. Suit jack­ets are as­sem­bled in Viet­nam, cot­ton tops in In­dia and denim pants in Bangladesh — a coun­try with a huge ap­parel in­dus­try where gar­ment work­ers typ­i­cally earn a min­i­mum wage of about $70 a month and where some have re­cently faced a harsh crack­down from fac­tory own­ers af­ter seek­ing higher pay.

And in Ethiopia, where man­u­fac­tur­ers have boasted of pay­ing work­ers a fifth of what they earn in Chi­nese fac­to­ries, work­ers made thou­sands of pounds of Ivanka Trump-brand shoes in 2013, ship­ping data show.

Klem, the Trump brand pres­i­dent, said the com­pany is ex­plor­ing ways to pro­duce some goods in the United States but that “to do it at a large scale is cur­rently not pos­si­ble.”

Klem spoke to The Post in the fash­ion line’s of­fices on the 23rd floor of Trump Tower, three floors be­low the head­quar­ters of the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion. On a ta­ble next to her lay a copy of a 2016 Busi­ness of Fash­ion re­port, “Un­rav­el­ling the Myth of ‘Made in Amer­ica.’ ”

“The work­ers no longer ex­ist here or only in very small, small ca­pac­ity; the ma­chin­ery in many in­stances does not ex­ist here,” Klem said. “It is a very com­plex prob­lem.”

In­dus­try ex­perts say about 97 per­cent of all cloth­ing and shoes pur­chased in the United States is im­ported from coun­tries where wages are lower and prod­ucts can be made more cheaply.

If Ivanka Trump’s com­pany fol­lowed the pres­i­dent’s ex­hor­ta­tions to move pro­duc­tion to the United States, its prices would rise dra­mat­i­cally, po­ten­tially push­ing buy­ers away and drag­ging down com­pany prof­its, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try ex­perts.

The In­sti­tute for Global Labour and Hu­man Rights, a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, es­ti­mated in 2013 that a denim shirt that cost $3.72 to make in Bangladesh would cost more than three times as much to make in the United States.

In­stead of pulling pro­duc­tion back into the United States, the ap­parel in­dus­try has been fo­cused on a dif­fer­ent strat­egy: try­ing to re­as­sure Amer­i­can con­sumers that their re­tail pur­chases are not the re­sult of ex­ploita­tion.

A wide range of cloth­ing lines now in­spect their own sup­ply chains to make sure la­bor stan­dards are met, the com­pa­nies say. Among them is Levi Strauss, which, like Trump’s brand, li­censes some of its pro­duc­tion from a large New York-based cloth­ing dis­trib­u­tor called G-III Ap­parel.

A Levi spokes­woman told The Post that the com­pany in­spects its pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties an­nu­ally and has pub­lished fac­tory in­for­ma­tion since 2005.

Many smaller brands turn to in­dus­try-backed groups, such as the Fair La­bor As­so­ci­a­tion or the Sus­tain­able Ap­parel Coali­tion, to help ad­dress fac­tory con­di­tions and worker treat­ment.

Kro­chet Kids, which sells dresses for less than $60, in­cludes cloth­ing tags hand-signed by work­ers at its fa­cil­i­ties in Uganda and Peru. Re­for­ma­tion, whose dress Trump wore to a re­cent con­gres­sional pic­nic, screens its over­seas sup­pli­ers and re­cently moved to an ex­panded fac­tory in down­town Los An­ge­les, where it of­fers guided tours.

“The ques­tions to­day aren’t whether to en­gage in [mon­i­tor­ing fac­to­ries], but whether to go be­yond, all the way down to the cot­ton fields,” said Doug Cahn, a for­mer Ree­bok ex­ec­u­tive who pi­o­neered the de­vel­op­ment of cor­po­rate codes of con­duct and now con­sults for brands and man­u­fac­tur­ers.

The Trump com­pany’s rel­a­tively pas­sive ap­proach is no­table — as is its lack of par­tic­i­pa­tion in in­dus­try ef­forts to im­prove con­di­tions for work­ers, ac­cord­ing to la­bor ad­vo­cates.

“I have been do­ing this stuff for 20 years, and I have never seen her brand in any of these venues,” said Judy Gearhart, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the In­ter­na­tional La­bor Rights Fo­rum.

Klem said that “as a small, young brand, we did not have the chance to in­flu­ence the de­bate around so­cial com­pli­ance is­sues, but that has ob­vi­ously changed dur­ing this past year.”

“We rec­og­nize that our brand name car­ries a spe­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity,” she added.

The Ivanka brand: From gl­itzy jew­elry to #WomenWhoWork

Ivanka Trump was a 26-year-old model and guest judge on her fa­ther’s re­al­ity show, “The Ap­pren­tice,” when she took on her first solo ven­ture out­side the fam­ily busi­ness: lend­ing her name and cre­ative en­ergy to a Man­hat­tan di­a­mond bou­tique.

From the begin­ning, Trump said she en­vi­sioned Ivanka Trump Fine Jew­elry as a gl­itzy refuge for the up­per crust. In a 2007 Ara­bian Busi­ness magazine pro­file, head­lined “Daddy’s Girl,” Ivanka Trump said the jew­elry, mostly priced be­tween $5,000 and $50,000, would be mar­keted to am­bi­tious, wealthy women who “have ev­ery­thing, yet . . . noth­ing to prove.”

Ini­tially, Trump’s brand put an em­pha­sis on sus­tain­abil­ity. In 2011, her com­pany in­tro­duced a short­lived bri­dal jew­elry col­lec­tion made from “eco-friendly” Cana­dian-mined di­a­monds and re­cy­cled plat­inum. The fol­low­ing year, en­trepreneur Rus­sell Sim­mons’ Di­a­mond Em­pow­er­ment Fund, a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that works to help ed­u­cate youth in di­a­mond-pro­duc­ing coun­tries, gave her its “New­est and Bright­est” award.

“It’s just good busi­ness to care about ev­ery­one in­volved in the var­i­ous lay­ers of pro­duc­tion . . . es­pe­cially when the end prod­uct is such a beautiful sym­bol of love,” Trump said, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease by the group.

By then, she had started ex­pand­ing into other prod­ucts, even­tu­ally sign­ing deals for clothes, shoes and hand­bags.

Ship­ping data show that tons of Ivanka Trump-brand shoes were rolling off fac­tory pro­duc­tion lines in Dong­guan, the sprawl­ing in­dus­trial city in south­ern China, and onto con­tainer ships with names such as APL Bei­jing and Hyundai Dy­nasty.

Trump’s cloth­ing line — styled to sell an im­age of modern metropoli­tan glam­our — quickly be­came the core of her busi­ness, with mid-mar­ket prices and an ex­pand­ing col­lec­tion of stylish pumps, off-the-shoul­der tops and flower-print cock­tail dresses.

In late 2012, Trump signed a deal with G-III, an es­tab­lished ap­parel group known for its work with Guess, Calvin Klein and celebrity brands such as Jes­sica Simp­son. Trump’s col­lec­tion flour­ished and, with it, pro­duc­tion ramped up in G-III’s con­tract fac­to­ries across China and Viet­nam, ac­cord­ing to ship­ping data.

In 2016, G-III told Forbes that the Ivanka Trump cloth­ing line had gen­er­ated $100 mil­lion in re­tail rev­enue in the past year.

Trump served as her com­pany’s star mar­keter, wear­ing her brand’s nude heels and a $10,000 bracelet dur­ing photo shoots and TV in­ter­views.

In last year’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, Trump took the op­por­tu­nity to show­case her prod­ucts on the na­tional stage. Af­ter she paid trib­ute to her fa­ther at the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion in one of her soft­pink sheath dresses, her so­cial me­dia team urged buy­ers to “shop Ivanka’s look,” and the $138 Chi­nese-made dress quickly sold out.

In the com­pany’s Trump Tower head­quar­ters, a staff of about 16 em­ploy­ees runs the Ivanka Trump de­sign team, so­cial me­dia ac­counts and brand­ing cam­paigns — in­clud­ing #WomenWhoWork, a move­men­tas-hash­tag that emerged as the com­pany’s driv­ing motto.

Its mar­ket­ing mixes pro­mo­tions for evening bags with cel­e­bra­tions of fe­male power. What was once ad­ver­tised as trendy cloth­ing for women in “the board­room and be­yond” has evolved into what calls “a so­lu­tion-ori­ented life­style brand, ded­i­cated to the mis­sion of in­spir­ing and em­pow­er­ing women to cre­ate the lives they want to lead.”

In re­cent months, how­ever, ef­forts to mar­ket the up­beat Ivanka Trump cloth­ing brand have run head­long into the po­lar­iz­ing Trump po­lit­i­cal brand.

Af­ter Nord­strom dropped her line in Fe­bru­ary, cit­ing low sales, the pres­i­dent com­plained on Twit­ter that his daugh­ter had been “treated so un­fairly,” and pro-Trump sup­port­ers rushed to buy her prod­ucts. Pres­i­den­tial coun­selor Kellyanne Con­way drew a re­buke from fed­eral ethics of­fi­cials for telling TV view­ers, from the White House press room, to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff.”

De­trac­tors of the pres­i­dent, mean­while, have posted neg­a­tive re­views of Ivanka Trump items on­line, needling her for re­ly­ing on for­eign la­bor.

Klem said the con­tro­ver­sies have not hurt sales. She de­clined to dis­close fig­ures but said that the brand’s busi­ness is “grow­ing rapidly.” Rev­enue was up 21 per­cent in 2016, with con­tin­u­ing growth in 2017, ex­ec­u­tives said.

‘We are the ul­tra-poor,’ says Bangladeshi la­bor or­ga­nizer

In May, Lord & Taylor stores show­cased the new­est items in the Ivanka Trump denim col­lec­tion: a se­ries of in­digo, white and pink pants re­tail­ing for $79. Af­fixed to each was a la­bel bran­dish­ing the #WomenWhoWork slo­gan, fea­tur­ing as­pi­ra­tional ad­mon­ish­ments such as “Act pur­pose­fully” and “In­vest in each other.”

The la­bels on the jeans show they were made for G-III Ap­parel in Bangladesh, whose gar­ment in­dus­try has weath­ered a se­ries of deadly fac­tory dis­as­ters, in­clud­ing a 2013 build­ing col­lapse that killed more than 1,100 work­ers. Af­ter that tragedy, brands such as Wal­mart and Gap vowed to pay for safety train­ing for fac­tory man­agers.

Ship­ping records do not re­veal which fac­to­ries in the coun­try pro­duce Ivanka Trump goods, and both the brand and G-III re­fused to say which fa­cil­i­ties make her prod­ucts.

G-III spokesman Chris Giglio said the com­pany’s sup­ply chain is “rou­tinely au­dited by us and by in­de­pen­dent third par­ties. When is­sues arise, we work with our lo­cal part­ners to find and im­ple­ment safe, fair and sus­tain­able so­lu­tions.”

Along with fac­ing safety risks, Bangladeshi gar­ment work­ers toil for one of the world’s low­est min­i­mum wages.

“We are the ul­tra-poor,” said Kalpona Ak­ter, a Bangladeshi la­bor or­ga­nizer and for­mer gar­ment worker who was first hired by a fac­tory at the age of 12. “We are mak­ing you beautiful, but we are starv­ing.”

In De­cem­ber, thou­sands of work­ers seek­ing higher pay went on strike out­side the cap­i­tal city of Dhaka. In re­sponse, po­lice rounded up and ar­rested sev­eral dozen la­bor or­ga­niz­ers, and fac­tory own­ers filed crim­i­nal com­plaints against hun­dreds of work­ers, ac­cord­ing to Hu­man Rights Watch. An es­ti­mated 1,500 gar­ment work­ers were sus­pended or fired.

At a Dhaka ap­parel sum­mit in Fe­bru­ary, U.S. Am­bas­sador Mar­cia S. Ber­ni­cat de­scribed the mass fir­ings and ar­rests as “a gi­ant, dis­ap­point­ing step back­wards on la­bor rights” and warned that in­ter­na­tional buy­ers “have to ask them­selves how they will sell gar­ments made in a coun­try where large num­bers of work­ers and union lead­ers are sud­denly ar­rested, fired or sus­pended sim­ply be­cause they or their fel­low work­ers asked for a wage in­crease.”

A num­ber of ap­parel brands have called on fac­to­ries to halt the worker crack­down. A spokesman for H&M told The Post that it has in­structed Dhaka fac­tory own­ers that the com­pany will pull its busi­ness un­less the fac­to­ries re­in­state the fired work­ers and drop the crim­i­nal com­plaints.

Trump’s brand and G-III have not pub­licly ad­dressed the crack­down. Klem said that the com­pany’s code of con­duct gives work­ers in its sup­ply chain “the right to freely as­so­ciate in ac­cor­dance with the laws of the coun­tries in which they are em­ployed.”

In re­cent years, hun­dreds of cloth­ing lines and man­u­fac­tur­ers have poured mil­lions into fi­nanc­ing safety im­prove­ments in gar­ment fac­to­ries through two ma­jor ini­tia­tives, the Ac­cord on Fire and Build­ing Safety in Bangladesh and the Al­liance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a group made up of 29 North Amer­i­can re­tail­ers.

Nei­ther Trump’s com­pany nor GIII Ap­parel has con­trib­uted to those ef­forts, ac­cord­ing to pro­gram of­fi­cials. But a fac­tory used last year by a G-III sub­sidiary has ben­e­fited from the safety ini­tia­tives, ac­cord­ing to U.S. cus­toms records and Bangladeshi gov­ern­ment re­ports.

The fac­tory, That’s It Sports Wear Ltd., the site of a 2010 fire that killed 29 em­ploy­ees, worked with both pro­grams to in­stall fire doors, sprin­klers and other safety im­prove­ments, records show. The Ha-Meem Group, which owns the fac­tory, does not

pro­duce Ivanka Trump goods, the com­pany’s chair­man, A.K. Azad, told The Post.

Jes­sica Cham­pagne, deputy di­rec­tor for field operations and strat­egy at the Worker Rights Con­sor­tium, an in­de­pen­dent mon­i­tor­ing group, said that “any re­spon­si­ble brand sourc­ing from Bangladesh” should sup­port the ac­cord, adding that “fail­ure to do so puts work­ers’ safety at risk.”

Klem said the com­pany would con­sider do­ing so if its yet-to-be­hired work­ers rights con­sul­tant rec­om­mends such a move.

G-III did not re­spond to ques­tions about why it does not par­tic­i­pate in the fac­tory im­prove­ment pro­gram. At a panel dis­cus­sion last year, one of its ex­ec­u­tives noted that the dis­trib­u­tor has a set of stan­dards that its fa­cil­i­ties must meet.

“We have a team on the ground run­ning around ev­ery fac­tory in Asia and vis­it­ing these fac­to­ries and drilling it into their head what these re­quire­ments mean,” Adam Zieden­we­ber, G-III’s vice pres­i­dent of global sourc­ing com­pli­ance, said in the March 2016 event at the Ben­jamin N. Car­dozo Law School.

But Zieden­we­ber, who did not re­spond to ques­tions from The Post, also noted the chal­lenge of keep­ing prices low while mak­ing in­vest­ments in fac­to­ries.

“You know, the re­tail­ers, the con­sumers aren’t ask­ing for it,” he said. “None of the con­sumers say, ‘Well, this was made in a build­ing that was go­ing to fall down.’ ”

Un­able to make ends meet on what they are paid

Fi­nan­cial in­se­cu­rity is a con­stant com­pan­ion for the pre­dom­i­nantly fe­male work­force at PT Buma, a fac­tory in In­done­sia’s West Java prov­ince that pro­duced a batch of Ivanka-branded knit dresses that ship­ping records show ar­rived in Ne­wark on Jan. 18, two days be­fore Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion.

K., a 26-year-old sewing-ma­chine op­er­a­tor, told The Post that she makes the equiv­a­lent of $173 a month, the re­gion’s min­i­mum wage. Her full name, like that of other work­ers, is be­ing with­held by The Post be­cause the work­ers fear be­ing pun­ished or fired for speak­ing to the me­dia.

She said she spends $23 to rent her small stu­dio in the bustling fac­tory town of Subang, where she sleeps on a mat­tress on the floor and hangs her clothes from a string hung along the wall.

She saves the rest for her 2-yearold daugh­ter but wor­ries she will not be able to af­ford el­e­men­tary school fees, which can cost as much as $225 a year.

With no child care, K. is forced to leave the tod­dler at home with her par­ents in their vil­lage, a jour­ney of about 90 min­utes away by mo­tor­bike across the rice fields. On the weekend, she joins an ex­o­dus of par­ents from Subang who clam­ber onto mo­tor­bikes and into shared vans, racing home for brief re­unions.

“I re­ally miss the mo­ments when we play to­gether,” K. said.

A 25-year-old woman said PT Buma hires her as a fab­ric cut­ter on a day-to-day ba­sis, pay­ing her a monthly salary that ranges be­tween $68 to $135 for as much as 24 days of work — far be­low the re­gion’s min­i­mum wage and a rate that work­ers ad­vo­cates say is prob­a­bly a vi­o­la­tion of lo­cal law.

The fab­ric cut­ter and her hus­band have to bor­row money to cover their daily ex­penses and those of their 10-year-old son, who lives 45 min­utes away with his grand­mother. She sees him about once a month.

Their pos­ses­sions con­sist of her hus­band’s mo­tor­bike and their clothes. “I have noth­ing,” she said.

In­side the fac­tory, work­ers said su­per­vi­sors be­rate em­ploy­ees if they fall be­hind their tar­gets or if stitches need to be re­done. “Work faster, these clothes are ur­gent,” one 30year-old em­ployee said she was told. “Why do you work slow?”

PT Buma par­tic­i­pates in Bet­ter Work, an in­ter­na­tional pro­gram to im­prove gar­ment in­dus­try con­di­tions, ac­cord­ing to the Bet­ter Work web­site.

A PT Buma rep­re­sen­ta­tive who de­clined to give his name said the fac­tory no longer pro­duces Ivanka Trump cloth­ing. He said the com­pany re­fused to an­swer any more ques­tions and abruptly ended the call.

When asked about the work­ing en­vi­ron­ment at PT Buma, Klem said in a state­ment that the brand hopes to de­velop pro­grams to sup­port the “thou­sands of women” in its sup­ply chain.

For K., the dresses she has helped pro­duce — which re­tail for as much as $138 — seem as out of reach as the daugh­ter of the U.S. pres­i­dent her­self, whose name the worker said she now wishes she had cho­sen for her own lit­tle girl.

“Ivanka clothes are beautiful, ex­pen­sive, sexy — just per­fect,” she said.

Em­ploy­ees ex­press a fear of re­tal­i­a­tion

The dan­gers to work­ers who try to seek bet­ter la­bor con­di­tions are es­pe­cially acute in China, where ac­tivists say heavy sur­veil­lance and po­lice pres­ences are used to pro­tect com­pany prof­its and the coun­try’s lu­cra­tive rep­u­ta­tion as the “fac­tory of the world.”

Ivanka Trump’s prod­ucts have been made in more than two dozen fac­to­ries across China since 2010, ship­ping data show.

Yen Sheng, a Hong Kong-based com­pany with fac­to­ries in Dong­guan where work­ers are paid be­tween $190 and $289 a month, has shipped thou­sands of pounds of Ivanka Trump cowhide-leather hand­bags and other items since 2015, cus­toms records show.

Em­ploy­ees in Dong­guan told The Post that the com­pany with­holds sick pay un­less they are hos­pi­tal­ized and avoids pay­ing over­time by out­sourc­ing work to the un­reg­u­lated one-room fac­to­ries that dot Dong­guan’s back streets. But press­ing for change is not an op­tion, they said.

“If you don’t work, other peo­ple will,” one woman at the com­pany’s Dong­guan sub­sidiary Yen Hing Leather Works said. “If you protest, the com­pany will ask the po­lice to han­dle it. The owner is very rich. He can ask the po­lice to come.”

Trump brand ex­ec­u­tives said its prod­ucts are not made at Yen Hing. A man­ager at the Dong­guan fac­tory, Huang Hui­hong, told The Post that its work­ers have pro­duced Ivanka Trump goods in the past.

Of­fi­cials at Yen Hing de­nied the work­ers’ al­le­ga­tions, say­ing they “strictly fol­low the laws in our busi­ness op­er­a­tion.” Mon­dani, the Trump brand’s hand­bag sup­plier, did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

The work con­di­tions at Chi­nese fac­to­ries that make Trump’s prod­ucts have gained pub­lic at­ten­tion in re­cent weeks af­ter the de­ten­tions of three ac­tivists from a group called China La­bor Watch who were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the fa­cil­i­ties. The group said it found ev­i­dence at one fa­cil­ity of la­bor­ers work­ing 18-hour days and en­dur­ing ver­bal abuse from man­agers, al­le­ga­tions that the Chi­nese fac­tory de­nied.

Chi­nese author­i­ties ac­cused the ac­tivists of us­ing il­le­gal sur­veil­lance equip­ment and sug­gested they might have been sell­ing com­mer­cial se­crets to for­eign en­ti­ties. They were re­leased on bail in late June. A trial is pend­ing.

The State Depart­ment de­nounced the ar­rests, say­ing that la­bor rights ac­tivists “have been in­stru­men­tal in help­ing . . . Amer­i­can com­pa­nies un­der­stand the con­di­tions in­volv­ing their sup­ply chains.”

Li Qiang, the group’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, said it had never faced such po­lice pres­sure in nearly two decades of ex­pe­ri­ence in­ves­ti­gat­ing fac­to­ries and said he be­lieves this case was han­dled dif­fer­ently be­cause “this is Ivanka Trump’s fac­tory.”

Hua Haifeng, one of the de­tained ac­tivists, told The Post af­ter his re­lease, “The first ques­tion the po­lice asked was to the ef­fect of ‘whether you know it’s Ivanka Trump’s fac­tory and then came here to investigate.’ ” Lo­cal po­lice of­fi­cials did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

Li’s group says it has sent four let­ters since April to Ivanka Trump at the White House de­tail­ing the work­ing con­di­tions in the fac­tory and ask­ing for her to ad­vo­cate for their col­leagues.

Deng Guil­ian, Hua’s wife, also pleaded with Trump to in­ter­vene, telling The Post, “For her, it’s just a mat­ter of a few words, but those few words would save the en­tire fam­ily.”

Trump has not spo­ken pub­licly about the case. Gore­lick, her at­tor­ney, told The Post that Trump, be­cause of her White House role, “has been ad­vised that she can­not ask the gov­ern- ment to act in an is­sue in­volv­ing the brand in any way, con­strain­ing her abil­ity to in­ter­vene per­son­ally.”

Klem said in a state­ment that while the fac­tory has not pro­duced Trump goods since March, “the in­tegrity of our sup­ply chain is a top pri­or­ity and we take all al­le­ga­tions very se­ri­ously.” The com­pany that sup­plies Trump-brand shoes, Marc Fisher, said it would look into the al­le­ga­tions.

In the mean­time, Trump has been in­creas­ing her in­ter­na­tional pro­file as an ad­vo­cate for work­ing women.

Dur­ing a trip this spring with her fa­ther to Saudi Ara­bia, she told a group of Saudi fe­male lead­ers that she aims “to help em­power women in the United States and around the globe.”

In May, she pub­lished her book, “Women Who Work,” in which she de­tailed her com­mit­ment to pro­mot­ing eq­ui­table work con­di­tions.

“As a leader and a mother, I feel it’s as much my re­spon­si­bil­ity to cul­ti­vate an en­vi­ron­ment that sup­ports peo­ple — and the roles we hold, both in our fam­ily and busi­ness lives — as it is to post prof­its,” Trump wrote. “One can­not suf­fer at the ex­pense of the other — they go hand in hand.”

In late June, she helped un­veil the State Depart­ment’s lat­est hu­mantraf­fick­ing re­port, which la­beled China one of the world’s worst of­fend­ers on forced la­bor.

“Let us recom­mit our­selves,” she said, “to finding those still in the shad­ows of ex­ploita­tion.” Gold and Harwell re­ported from Wash­ing­ton and New York; Sattar re­ported from Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Denyer re­ported from Dong­guan, China. Alice Crites and Julie Tate in Wash­ing­ton; Andri Tambunan in Subang, In­done­sia; Paul Schemm in Ad­dis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Luna Lin in Bei­jing con­trib­uted to this re­port.


K., a PT Buma gar­ment worker whose full name is be­ing with­held be­cause she fears be­ing pun­ished or fired for speak­ing to the me­dia, makes about $173 a month, the In­done­sian re­gion’s min­i­mum wage.


A la­borer works on a pro­duc­tion line at the Hua­jian shoe fac­tory in Dong­guan, China, last Septem­ber.


Kalpona Ak­ter, a for­mer gar­ment worker, is the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Bangladesh Cen­ter for Worker Sol­i­dar­ity, one of the coun­try’s most prom­i­nent la­bor rights ad­vo­cacy or­ga­ni­za­tions.


Fac­tory work­ers make shoes at the Chi­nese firm Hua­jian’s plant out­side Ad­dis Ababa, Ethiopia, in Jan­uary. The fa­cil­ity made thou­sands of pounds of Ivanka Trump-brand shoes in 2013, ship­ping data show.


A daily free­lance worker for PT Buma poses for a photo at her home in Subang, In­done­sia. She earns 50,000 ru­piah, or about $3.75, per day.

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