Kidnap for ransom is a very real threat in many parts of the world. The risk of kidnapping is not always motivated by ideologies. In high risk countries, such as Mexico or Colombia, kidnapping represents a relatively easy and quick way to obtain large amounts of money. Companies therefore have a duty of care to their travelling and expatriate staff.
An organisation dealing with an incident could experience potential losses from ransom payments, business interruption, litigation, adverse publicity and long-term damage to reputation.
The following tips have been compiled to assist individuals avoid a kidnap situation. They do not however, negate the need for an organisation to fulfil their legal obligations (Duty of Care) and undertake a full risk assessment and implement appropriate controls.
- In the city, get used to travelling on different routes and at different times when possible. Avoid travelling in desolate or solitary places.
- Keep a trusted person and your company informed of your daily itinerary and stay in frequent communication with them.
- Always keep a means of communication with you.
- After an accident or collision during travel, be sure of the situation before getting out of the vehicle.
- Identify places along the route that you use for medical problems, mechanical failures or in case you suspect that you are being followed.
- Before travelling between cities, check out the security situation in the area you are visiting and travel during daylight hours. Call the Consular or Embassy for up to date information.
- Always be suspicious of uniformed officers that travel in unmarked cars.
- Do not pick up passengers.
- Don’t take shortcuts or drive on unknown roads; observe signs on the way, listen to warning and informational messages on the local radio station or television.
- Be more alert at traffic lights and in places where you stop or lower your speed; be careful for premeditated distractions. Always use your air-conditioning and keep the windows of your vehicle closed and doors locked.