The extreme sexualisation of women as sex slaves by industry and the media in England today is an “epidemic” according to one of the country’s leading sex workers.
Becky Osterban, who was born in Newcastle and brought up in Bayswater London, has been a stripper, escort, performer and massage therapist for 20 years.
She is now speaking out against the sex industry in an effort to bring down the harms it causes for women and young girls – and speaking about her own experiences to help warn girls off the road to exploitation.
Ms Osterban is launching a national petition in a bid to reduce the over-sexualisation of young girls in their school lives and to raise awareness about the role the media plays in the sexualisation of girls and women.
Her book, Empowering Girls and Escorts to Take Charge of their Destiny, will be published in early November and will help raise awareness of the role that the media, and other industries, play in perpetuating the idea that women are something to be bought and sold.
“It’s really shocking to see the extremes of the sex industry in England today,” said Ms Osterban.
“But it’s not shocking that it’s happening; it’s the scale of it that shocks. We now have an epidemic of sex trafficking, and it doesn’t seem to be going away. “We need to tackle the sex industry to help end sex trafficking, starting with the exploitation of London escorts by bad agencies” she added.
In her work as a media activist and the author of the sex-slave book, Ms Osterban is calling for a ‘sex shame and power treaty’ to be signed by governments, media, and sex workers to tackle the issues and the harms of sex exploitation.
As part of her work, Ms Osterban will be bringing down the curtain on the wearing of dresses and other forms of body shaming at a sex-slave discussion and ‘male abuse awareness party’ in north London on November 23.
The event, which aims to empower young people to speak out about, or to report incidents of rape, assault, and male violence against women, will aim to help challenge sexual violence and any violence against women and girls and to bring about a shift in attitudes.
Ms Osterban has written a men’s party, Activism and Me, to help men – particularly young men – step away from relationships with women who are exploitative or perpetuate inequality.
Ms Osterban is hosting the event, which aims to shine a light on the “darkness” in relationships, and the harmful consequences of violence against women and girls.
“I want to shine a light on men and empower them to say no to violence,” she said.
“Our hand is forced to tell men and women to step away from people who are exploitative.”