By Gad Masereka
On July 19, the High Court’s International Crimes Division further remanded a Portuguese national to Luzira prison on allegations of aggravating child trafficking.
Two counts of aggravated child trafficking in violation of Sections 5(a) and 3(1)(a) of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act 2009 are brought against Carlos Alberto De Almedia E Costa.
For the mention of his case, he appeared before trial judge Richard Wejuli Wabwire. However, Alberto was fit to face trial, according to the prosecution, which was led by Mr. Joseph Kyomuhendo, after a medical assessment from Butabika National Referral Mental Hospital affirmed his sound mental state.
According to the prosecution, Alberto received and harboured a minor between April and May 2020 at Busibante Zone, Kira Division, and Wakiso district while abusing his authority or position of vulnerability by providing or accepting monies to obtain her permission for sexual exploitation.
In accordance with court records, Alberto first lived in Ntinda with his fiancée after travelling to Uganda in August 2019. After the separation, Alberto moved to Najjera, where he rented a flat, in April 2020.
According to the documents, the accused first encountered the victim’s mother, who was selling tea along the highway with her two daughters.
Alberto started out as a regular customer and finally asked to have the victim’s little daughter wash his clothes at his house.
“Towards the end of April, he asked the victim’s mother to let her young daughter accompany him to wash his clothing at his house. Instead, the mother asked that he bring the clothing, wash them at home, and then select the items, according to court filings.
According to the allegations, the accused and the victim became friends and moved in together, paying the victim’s parents Shs500,000 a month in rent for a two-bedroom home.
The offender allegedly moved from his bed to the victim’s bed while the family slept and engaged in indecent behaviour. When the victim’s sister became aware of this and went to their parents’ room, the accused was able to take advantage of the victim.
“The victim’s father was informed of the occurrence, but he remained silent. The victim removed the accused’s mattress from her room, but her father made her take it back, which led to additional exploitation, according to the court papers.
They moved to a large three-bedroom property after the accused grumbled about the first one and proposed it; they paid Sh1 million a month for it.
“In the new house, the accused lived in the third room, the parents in the second room, and the victim and her brother in the first room. He later alleged discrimination, stating he was forbidden from freely interacting with the kids, according to the filings.
Alberto also requested bail until the outcome of his lawsuit, citing severe health issues including prostate cancer and a disease that causes his left eye to recede.
The trial judge set July 24 for the bail application hearing.