Boots made for walking

Accusations, three arrests, a week of silence, a denial and attempts to distance itself from accusations. That was the state of affairs regarding Ivanka Trump’s shoes, boots, fashion Brand – a couple of weeks ago. Only for similar accusations to crop up elsewhere.

Of course, Ivanka Trump’s suppliers do not employ workers in horrible conditions in China, nor in Indonesia – according to the usual spin.

Reports about long hours, low wages, or simply no wages – let’s not beat around the bush: basically, the accusations mounted to human beings working at Trump fashion factories as slaves. Ivanka Trump’s fashion brand is one of many which seem involved in modern-day slavery.

It makes one wonder, what the United Nations and various countries think; how they operate. One seriously wonders, what their ideas are about human rights, decency. How they square what they claim to stand for, with actual behaviour.

How on earth could Ivanka Trump end up sharing a podium with female leaders at a Women Summit – just a few months ago? How on earth could the United Nations allow her be a figurehead for its foundation to help girls? How can money be pledged to “her” fund promoting female entrepreneurs? Ah well – the latter was a pledge by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Have they no shame? Or are they that easily duped into promoting the Saint Ivanka Trump Brand? The reinvention of Brand Ivanka Trump, to counteract and cover up all those investigations and worrisome ties with Russia, Kazakhstan gangsters, blood diamonds, money-laundering, and worse?

Earlier this year, three Chinese activists investigating an Ivanka Trump shoe factory were arrested. The brand and brand-owner worked hard: after a week of silence, tactics à la papa-Trump were deployed. There was the usual distancing and denials. Facts were dubbed fiction.

Media were told it had been months, since the last Ivanka Trump shoe had left that Chinese factory. Despite an increase in Ivanka Trump’s business interests in China.

Then the accusations about an Indonesian factory erupted. Fortune and other media contacting factories, suppliers, brand representatives were stone-walled. Inquiries were not answered.

Now the Guardian’s Benjamin Haas writing from Hong Kong, has uncovered evidence, orders for shoes were completed and delivered as late as the 30th of May. “… Ivanka Trump’s brand did not refute the information …” Mind: this despite assertions that no Ivanka Trump shoes had been produced for months at that factory.

The president of Ivanka Trump Brand refused to answer questions or give a reaction about the fact that the three Chinese activists are accused of spying for foreign companies by Chinese authorities.

Haas points out “... Ivanka Trump no longer leads the business that bears her name, turning over day to day operations to Kelm, but the first daughter maintains an ownership stake. …“.

It all makes one question not so much the fact that President Trump made his daughter advisor. That act was just downright, totally clear and obvious nepotism – if not worse.

It makes one seriously question the behaviour of world leaders, bent on sharing platforms with a Trump family member. It makes one seriously wonder about the United Nations allowing Ivanka to be a representative of what they stand for. It makes one question anybody allowing Ivanka to promote herself as shining entrepreneurial example.

Ivanka Trump shoes and boots are made for walking. Should they trod all over basic human and decent labour rights?

Guardian: Ivanka Trump shoes slated despite denial


About Kate

Multilingual arts & culture journalist, blogger, columnist, writer and translator. Contributor to international (news) media. 2014 winning columnist Gentse Schrijversdagen, Gand, Belgium.
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