Three Chinese activists that had been working undercover in a factory that makes shoes for Ivanka Trump’s fashion line were released from prison on Wednesday after spending a month behind bars.
The three men, working for China Labor Watch, had been arrested and charged with breaking the law by clandestinely recording activities inside the factory that manufactures Ivanka Trump’s shoe line. China Labor Watch, based in New York City, has been conducting an investigation into the conditions in factories owned by the Huajian Group in Ganzhou – a city located in the Jiangxi region of China.
Apart from the three investigators, a group of factory workers told the Associated Press that an angry manager had recently allegedly stabbed an employee in the forehead with the sharp end of a shoe heel. The worker’s face was quickly covered in blood.
Employees responsible for assembling Ivanka Trump’s shoes also reported that overtime consistently ran into the early morning hours. The workers are allegedly expected to meet unattainable quotas and are reportedly routinely subjected to verbal abuse when they cannot keep up with the demand.
According to China Labor Watch investigators, an individual production line consisting of 50 workers are often expected to produce 30,000 pairs of shoes for Ivanka Trump and other prominent fashion brands.
One of the factory’s current employees claims that they do not receive their full salary if they do not meet the impossible targets.
“It is impossible to meet the target, actually, because it just keeps on going up.”
Workers further allege that beatings at the Ganzhou Huajian International Shoe City Company were not uncommon, but the shoe attack was a particularly violent escalation.
A current employee reports that “he was bleeding right from the middle of the head.” A gruesome description that was echoed by a former employee that had quit his job due to the long hours and low pay.
“There was a lot of blood. He went to the factory’s nurse station, passing by me.”
According to the founder of China Labor Watch, Li Qiang, the exploitative and abusive conditions in the Huajian’s Ganzhou factory are some of the worst he has seen in nearly two decades working as a labor abuse investigator.
Qiang says the workers are paid shockingly low hourly rates that allegedly violate China’s labor laws. A maximum of two days off per month is allowed per employee.
When people apply for work at the factory, they are reportedly made to sign a piece of paper that details an exaggerated salary amount. They are also required to fill in a questionnaire about the conditions they are forced to work under. However, the questionnaires come with pre-approved answers.
The Huajian Group has denied the allegations, saying that they are “completely not true to the facts, taken out of context, exaggerated.”
While working for her father in the White House, Ivanka Trump has created some distance between her government duties and the management of her fashion company. Nevertheless, she is still the owner of the brand.
China Labor Watch has sent a copy of their recordings from inside the factory to Ivanka Trump, including footage of a manager aggressively threatening a worker for mistakenly arranging shoes in the incorrect order.
According to the Associated Press, who has seen the footage, the manager yells: “If I see them f—ing messed up again I’ll beat you right here.”
Ivanka Trump has not responded to any of the recordings. However, Abigail Klem, president of Ivanka Trump’s fashion brand, insists that “the integrity of our supply chain is a top priority and we take all allegations very seriously.”
Even though the Ivanka Trump brand denies making use of the factory in question in recent months, records show that a Trump order was submitted in April to be delivered in May.
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]