A bar in the southern Swedish town of Vaxjö has been cleared of discrimination charges after bouncers refused entry to a group of Asian looking women in what owners said was part of efforts to keep prostitutes out.
The owners and six bouncers at Harry’s bar were facing charges of illegal discrimination after turning several Asian looking women away at the door last year. Merlita Malmström, 44, said that she felt her and her daughter were treated as if they were prostitutes.
Prosecutors claimed that repeatedly refusing entry to the women in question because of their appearance was clearly discrimination, but the Vaxjö District Court did not agree. The court ruled that the bar had a legitimate reason to turn the women away in their attempts to cut down on prostitution.
Local police had information revealing that certain Asian women in the Harry’s bar area were prostitutes, according to the court. Therefore, refusing them entry was not linked to their appearance, but suspicions of prostitution.
The bouncers’ attorney Tomas Malm said that no one was rejected for a general reason, but specific people were turned away because of concerns about criminal activity. However, the court emphasised that nothing indicated that women were involved in prostitution.
Ms Malmström and the other women were nonetheless shocked by the ruling. She said that she is very upset and it makes her sick, adding that the whole experience had been traumatic and no one deserves to be treated in such a way.