Ivanka Trump Wants to End Global Human Trafficking, Ignores Domestic Women’s Rights Issues


On Tuesday morning, the day after Ivanka Trump told her pals at Fox & Friends that she tries “to stay out of politics,” Ivanka emerged at Secretary of State Rex Tillerson‘s side to help present the State Department’s annual human trafficking report.

The report rated 190 countries on how actively their governments are fighting human trafficking, ranking them on a three-tier system, with Tier 1 as the most effective. The report notably downgraded China to Tier 3, which is reportedly “the first major, public rebuke of China’s human rights record by the Trump administration. The US may also place sanctions against countries with Tier 3 rankings.”

But the most interesting aspect of the presentation was arguably Ivanka’s role in it. She identified fighting human trafficking around the world as a “major priority” for the Trump administration, all while, as Jezebel’s Prachi Gupta points out, continuing “to advise a president who has been working hard to suppress basic human rights like free speech, religious freedom, reproductive rights, and access to healthcare.”

Frankly, it’s hard to take seriously anyone’s claims of caring for women’s rights around the globe when they can’t even bring themselves to comment on the state of women’s rights at home. It’s far easier to criticize the state of women’s rights in less developed parts of the world, or unfairly stereotype and demonize certain regions than it is to take responsibility for your own failures at home. And next to being easy and cheap, it’s also just plain hypocritical.

Ivanka is content to profit from branding herself a feminist, as we’ve seen with her laughably out of touch book Women Who Work, but when it comes to actually challenging the anti-woman tide of her father’s administration, she sits out. Ivanka has yet to comment on her father’s signing off on legislation allowing states to defund Planned Parenthood, or on Vice President Mike Pence‘s horrifying yearning for an abortion-free (or safe abortion-free, I should say) society.

She has nothing to say about protecting the rights of sexual assault survivors, nor has she ever addressed the complaints of sexual misconduct, harassment, and intimidation her father has been accused of instigating toward women in the workplace; she’s never once touched on the issue of protecting the rights of consensual, adult sex workers. And, of course, to top it all off, her brand is being accused of exploiting her workers, subjecting them to long hours, inhumanely low pay, and abuse.

And what is the relevance of all this to her stance on global human trafficking? The speech should be acknowledged for what it truly is: an attempt by Ivanka to distract from the fact that she’s been no advocate for the rights of American women, and that she’d rather look abroad sitting atop a high horse of moral superiority, than concede what a disaster her father’s administration is for American women.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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