5 Tips for Surviving a Kidnap and Ransom Situation
By Kurt A. Wilson
Posted: February 26, 2015
Kidnapping for ransom is a reality that many tend not to think about when traveling. Having Kidnap & Ransom Insurance (K&R) is extremely important and often overlooked, but there are also important steps to take to ensure you get out unharmed.
1. “Point of Attack” – Draw Attention
This is a critical point as you can take steps to discourage the kidnappers. If you are being kidnapped in a public place or in a hotel room, try to make as much commotion as possible. This will draw attention to the situation or arouse suspicion of neighboring rooms. If kidnappers attempt to abduct you from your car, do not get out. Use time to your advantage and passively resist. Even if you are abducted, these actions could likely bring the kidnapping to the attention of authorities and a search can begin.
2. “Confinement” – Remain Calm, Listen
If abducted, do not physically resist. Follow your captors’ instructions. Resisting any drugs they may try to give you would be ineffective, as it may lead to you being physically harmed. You should not struggle in a confined space. Understand that you may be moved to multiple vehicles over the course of several hours. Keep calm and save your energy. Try to visualize the route and take note of street noises and turns.
3. “Humanize” – Get to Know Your Captors
You should not try to antagonize your captors. They have a certain agenda, most of the time involving money. Try to establish ground rules for your survival and attempt to establish some type of rapport with the captors. Attempt to get to know them and observe their habits, strengths and weaknesses. As you do this, however, be aware of the “Stockholm Syndrome” where those being held against their will sometimes sympathize with their captors. When communication is allowed, make them aware of your needs and ask for items to increase your comfort. Remember that you are valuable to them.
4. “Care” – Stimulation and Hygiene
Staying physically and mentally active is extremely important. Try to memorize and recall details to keep your mind sharp. Do small flexing exercises to keep up your strength. You should eat and drink what is given to you and maintain your hygiene as best you can. If you are with other hostages, find a way to communicate. In order to maintain clear judgment and reason, devise a way to track time and ask for items such as reading material or playing cards to stimulate your mind.
5. “Release” – Getting Out Unscathed
Threats, long periods of isolation, lack of food, drink, and sleep are common. Generally, escape is not an option, as it can lead to retaliation. After successful ransom negotiations conclude, kidnap victims are usually released unharmed.
Keep an eye out for express kidnapping
Another form of kidnapping, which has increased dramatically in the past few years, is called express kidnapping. It usually involves victims who voluntarily get into a taxi, the taxi pulls around the corner where the kidnappers get in. The driver then proceeds to multiple ATMs where victims are forced to withdraw money. Victims usually get anything in their possession taken and sometimes assaulted before being released. If this happens to you, assess the situation and give them what they want. They will not leave you alone if you resist.