Football Legend Neville Southall Backs Sex Work Decriminalisation

There was a very interesting interjection in the arguments for decriminalising prostitution this week, when ex-goalkeeper and Everton legend Neville Southall wrote a fascinating piece in favour of why that action should be taken.

Woman in leather mini skirt standing next to car

Growing up I found Southall a real pain in the backside. Back then my Liverpool and Everton fought it out for the league and various cups, and the this guy was the world’s greatest keeper arguably. He certainly seemed like a one man barrier to my young dreams coming true. There was even Everton beating my home town of Stockport County 3-2 in an FA Cup replay in 95-96, which was also devastating. Yet throughout this, you knew the guy was a class act and one of the best ever, even if you hated him for it.

Over recent years Southall hasn’t faded into the background. In fact, he has become a Twitter sensation, giving opinion on all matters, and always replying to messages from fans. It should therefore be no surprise that he has begun talking about sex work, which is a major issue in today society.

A Brilliant Analysis

After discussing the many varying reasons people become sex workers in the first place, he mentions the fact the criminalisation of sex work has sent everything undergrounds, and therefore increasing the risks attached.

“Right now in most of the United Kingdom, much of the sex industry remains criminalised. Soliciting in a public place is illegal, so too is kerb crawling and owning or managing a brothel. This forces sex workers our of sight and safety, and creates a stigma and shame that is hard to shake.”

Southall goes on to state that making them visible would ensure people are safe, and those in need of help would be able to get it.

“But it’s actually quite simple: they need to have easy access to people and somewhere safe to work, somewhere that does not standout as an eye sore within the local community, but a place everyone knows as a designated area for the sex trade.

“Sex workers could then, if they wanted, be registered and licensed, with health and safety guidelines for work (both for them and for their clients) as we have in many other industries. Those who work to feed a drug or alcohol habit would get benefits and support to get clean, and those struggling would be much more visible and therefore it would be easier to make sure they get what they need.”

He continues on, discussing things like the type of people who use sex workers and how they aren’t the ‘sad desperate losers’ society paints them as. Towards the end, he lists all the benefits of decriminalising sex work.

“It would benefit all of us. It would give sex workers respect, an income, a safe place to work, employment rights, better heath so less money used by the NHS, more tax, more employment, maybe cut down on addiction and hopefully less violence too. A win-win situation for all.”

I really don’t want to post too much of what he said as I would ask you all to go and read it yourselves. This is maybe the most well thought out analysis of the the arguments for sex work decriminalisation I have seen in a long time. This will have taken a lot of research as well which shows an inquisitive mind. It is certainly a mile away from the lazy and incorrect stereotype that footballers are ‘thick’.

The Importance of Non-Sex Worker Interventions

I actually think the interventions of people like Neville Southall are important on this matter. Nev has no vested interest in the industry, yet has a good reach due to his popularity on social media. He is the kind of person who may be listened to by the powers that be. Like it or not, we can (and have) made the same arguments, but those ideologues who fight against sex workers and clients can just write our opinions off by saying ‘they would say that wouldn’t they?’. They may have no valid counter-argument, but as my Granddad said about his style in Gaelic Football, ‘if you can’t get the ball, get the man’. In this case, if you have can’t argue against the point, denigrate the person making it. Neville Southall can’t be attacked in the same manner.

Sensible members of the public speaking on behalf of decriminalisation will have more of an impact than those in the industry. And remember, every politician is motivated by votes. If the public get on board with decrim, it will happen sooner or later.

Martin Ward
Follow me

Martin Ward

Martin Ward is a well respected editor and writer with over five years experience in the adult industry. After stints in the Escort Advertising call centre and on the escort forum, he moved into the site editor position around three years ago.

Since then, he has specialised in articles on the battle for equal rights for sex workers, sexual health, as well as bringing the readers fun news from around the world. He also has a major interest in LGBT rights, and is an active campaigner in this field.

When he isn't fighting the good fight, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, and young daughter. He also enjoys reading and taking long walks.
Martin Ward
Follow me

Latest posts by Martin Ward (see all)

Please log in here to leave a comment.