Media coverage of wealthy individuals and successful business activities abroad can attract the attention of criminal organizations. A profitable business from Eastern Europe to Istanbul to Mexico City!
Careless handling of social media, predictable routines in everyday life, and lack of preparation when travelling in foreign countries all raise the risks of being kidnapped. Wives and children of exposed persons are increasingly in the crosshairs of kidnappers and blackmailers.
Who are the perpetrators?
Such crimes are not always committed by kidnapping professionals. Sometimes a robbery turns into a kidnapping when the perpetrator recognizes the victim’s worth and sells them on to a criminal organization or a terrorist group. This phenomenon is becoming more common, especially in South America and the Arab world. Express kidnappings, in which the victims are robbed of their credit cards and usually held hostage for 24 hours so that the cards can be repeatedly charged, are indicative of this. If the kidnappers find out that their victim works for a well-known company or has a certain nationality that attracts their interest, the victim’s going rate increases immediately.
There are no standard solutions to prevent kidnappings. Dealing with social media, public relations, media presence, as well as securing daily routines, properties and IT devices play an essential role for families at risk. The challenge is to ensure a reasonable degree of security without disturbing the family’s privacy. Special so-called K&R insurance policies provide support in the event of such an attack.
Important standard measures:
- Determine the status quo
- Evaluate the current risk potential
- Establish a family crisis management team
- Prepare instructions and checklists for emergencies
- Provide a crisis hotline (24/365)
Travelers who go abroad should receive advance training to protect themselves against kidnapping and ransom. The parameters playing a role are, for example, the region visited and its cultural conditions, the security situation in the country and the traveler’s own risk profile, whether there is a 24/7 emergency hotline and how to behave in critical situations. Travel safety training will raise the traveler’s awareness, make them more attentive and raise their self-confidence. Their employer also meets their obligation to provide protection for the safety and security of their staff.