MIAMI – As a children's advocate in the community, Nelson Hincapie has spoken publicly about what it is like to live with addiction and childhood trauma. Until now, he has only shared his experience as a child sex abuse survivor privately with human trafficking victims to help gain their trust.
The Voices For Children Foundation president is having his own #MeToo moment. It hasn't been easy. The 46-year-old father of four is facing legal impediments that are preventing him from bringing an abuser to justice.
"Sometimes I feel angry. I know (the abuser) should have been stopped decades ago. I want to stop him now. I know he is in Mexico and I have seen pictures of him on Facebook with children there, yet there is nothing I can do," Hincapie said. "This man is a pedophile. He preyed on me. He groomed me. ... It's just a difficult path to justice."
The foundation Hincapie, of South Miami, represents raises funds for a state program that trains volunteers to represent children in court after they are removed from their homes and placed in the foster care system due to abandonment, abuse or neglect. He said his experience with abuse is what drives his mission.
Florida law requires children to be represented by a guardian ad litem or a court-appointed special advocate, who could be an attorney or a trained volunteer. Voices for Children was founded in 1984 to support the 11th Judicial Circuit GAL program. Hincapie has been leading the effort since 2009.
Hincapie said children in foster care are disproportionately victimized by human trafficking and some are sexually abused. About 60 % of child sex trafficking victims have a history in the child welfare system, according to the National Foster Youth Institute.
"The shame from sexual abuse can be very damaging, so saying, '#MeToo' shows a different level of understanding," Hincapie said.
With prominent cases involving accused perpetrators such as movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly, the women's movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault ignited a massive cultural change that has also helped to prompt male victims to speak up.