GLOBAL SECURITY THREATS
KIDNAP, RANSOM & EXTORTION
Due to globalisation of economies, multinational companies are at risk of attacks on their employees and facilities, across most regions of the world. For the same reasons people who frequently travel or that travel to high-risk regions are exposed to these risks.
Criminal organisations, gangs, groups involved in piracy and terrorists all have their roots based in kidnap, ransom, extortion and hijack. These criminal activities continue to threaten people working within national governments, multinational global corporations, to members of the general public.
There are more than 21,000 kidnappings reported globally every year, 26% of them occur in Africa, 24% in Latin America and 16% in the Middle East, 3% occur in North America and Europe collectively. However, these figures are increasing rapidly and continue to be a threat around the world.
These threats of attack, hijack, kidnap, ransom and extortion is a continuous concern, especially to certain individuals and groups, that include business, politically active persons, the wealthy and travelling members of the public. This is a global threat that can be targeted or opportunist in nature and the risk may increase in certain cities, countries, regions and locations and especially within areas of recent conflict or instability. Kidnapping is also prevalent in areas of extreme poverty, as well as places where law enforcement turns a blind eye to guerrilla activity.
Typically, criminal organisations and kidnappers aim to take foreign travellers, or specific targets captive to make a profit, versus trying to harm them. Nonetheless, not only can this lead to considerable financial loss, business disruption and adverse publicity, but the impact on the victim may be severe, mentally traumatic as well as physically and in extreme cases there is a loss to life. These risks may not feel like everyday exposures to an individual while travelling or going about their day to day lives, but increasingly this is often the case. When these incidents happen, the victim's family or organisation they work for may need substantial financial assistance as the costs associated with negotiation and recovery and the ransom itself can be considerable.
As general and business travel increases, the threats to foreigners traveling abroad have also increased by 20 percent, which means that kidnap and detention are currently real dangers for companies and individuals operating, or travelling both overseas and domestically. These risks are often overlooked by members of the travelling public as well as an organisation's management, on the grounds that it is not considered as a likely risk.
The reality is that criminal organisations and opportunist criminals do not discriminate. Any company of any size can be a target for kidnapping or extortion, as well as any member of the public. People tend to associate kidnapping with global companies. The fact is, radical groups and criminals exist everywhere. Those persons who are perceived to be wealthy are targets of kidnap. A kidnappers’ perception of victim’s liquid assets may have little to do with the real value of the victim’s assets. In fact, a ransom demand or attempt at extortion can affect just about anyone if they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The damage this can inflict on an individual’s family or the business that they work for can be very severe, this is proven by the vast number of corporate and individual victims around the world.