Responding to crises with expertise in the event of kidnap

Kidnap is a complex threat which can affect organisations and individuals globally. It is a cruel crime, not only for the victim, but also for the family members. Many victims and families continue to struggle with the psychological consequences long after their release. Employers may be sued by victims or Next of Kin and cases may raise unwanted interest from media outlets. It is a scenario that demands swift intervention which can often determine the successful release of kidnap victims, along with limiting the detriment kidnap and ransom can cause to both individuals and organisations.

The main people at risk of becoming kidnapping victims abroad are local employees and their families, expatriates and business travellers. Furthermore for high net worth individuals the perpetrators often focus on minors.

According to studies, the chance of survival is around 90%. While the negotiation path always will be the safest, a successful release is driven by skilful negotiations. Our team of professional kidnap response consultants will support your effort to facilitate a safe release of your employees or loved ones.

The crisis response team and our experience

The crisis response team and our experience

Our highly trained response team are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide trusted guidance and ensure the crisis is managed with a steady hand in an extremely volatile situation.

With access to experienced crisis consultants in more than 20 countries we have the reach, experience, cultural awareness and language capabilities to support our clients wherever the incident occurs. Our consultants have a dedicated background with law enforcement agencies, governmental and/or crisis negotiation teams and are recognised with special risks insurance companies.

In addition to this we have close partnerships with key specialists:

    • Psychologists and care specialists

    • Profilers and investigators

    • Law firms

    • Crisis communication specialists

    • Medical and security providers

    • IT forensics providers

State-of-the-art Ops centre supporting you and our deployed response consultants

State-of-the-art Ops centre supporting you and our deployed response consultants

Our 24/7 Ops centre is the client’s first point of contact. In a response case, our analysts can immediately provide vital information to the victim’s organisation and our response consultants. This includes researching details about the incident, possible perpetrators and details about past kidnaps in the region and setting up media monitoring. The Ops centre organises the deployment of the response. The Ops centre organises also the activation of local security providers if that is required. During the whole response case the response consultants can use 24/7 the analytical capabilities within the ops centre.

Depending on the type of incident we can deploy response consultants to the client’s crisis management team and to the country where the incident has taken place.

What happens when an emergency call is made to the Solace 24/7 assistance hotline

  • Initial advice on the phone and support with initial recommendations for action
  • Activation of our response consultants and global network to provide rapid on-site assistance
  • Collecting further information through our local contacts in order to analyse and verify your situation
  • Monitoring traditional and social media as well as specific search within the Darknet
  • Development and implementation of courses of action in close cooperation with you
  • Advice on an effective negotiation strategy
  • Provision of local contacts, e.g. to authorities
  • Deployment of response consultants to the crisis management team at your company headquarters and, if necessary, to the location of the incident
  • Operational measures in the field to avoid further damage
  • Support during negotiations with kidnappers and extortionists
  • Advice on effective internal and external crisis communications and reputation management
  • Coordination of the collaboration with the relevant authorities at home and abroad
  • Support in the handing of ransom payments, the repatriation of released hostages and the care and assistance of victims and their family members
  • Review and follow-up of the lessons learned during the crisis for the further development of your crisis management organisation and processes
Our approach to kidnap and ransom response

Our approach to kidnap and ransom response

In the event of a kidnapping the goal of professional crisis response consultants is to secure the release of your employee as quickly and unharmed as possible through negotiations – usually against payment of a reasonable ransom.
It is vital to instruct an experienced and highly skilled ransom response team when dealing with a complex situation such as kidnap, with the actions taken within the first few hours having a great influence on the outcome. An SOS can be raised through our platform Solace Secure or by calling our 24/7 emergency response line.

Facilitating the best possible outcome

Facilitating the best possible outcome

When families first become aware of a kidnap, situation decisions can often be driven by emotion and made with haste, which may not always be the best approach, particularly if large amount of ransom monies are paid too quickly. This can prolong the kidnapping further if the perpetrators sense there may be more money to extort or highlight you to be an attractive target for future kidnappings.

For organisations it is important to choose a qualified and experienced crisis response team, as this will be assessed and can leave the employer at risk if the victim believes the crisis management was unprofessional, or lasted a disproportionate length of time compared to similar kidnap cases.

Legal duty of care for kidnapping

In additional to an employers moral responsibility to protect employee’s while abroad, there is a heightened legal obligation to employees which is attached to kidnap for ransom cases. Both larger organisations and mid-sized companies operating globally should be conscious of the risks posed to travelling employees, with many high profile cases highlighting the necessity for a prepared and measured response to kidnapping.

Duty of care can be divided into 4 key areas

  • Duty to disclose risks at the destination
  • Duty to prevent and mitigate risks
  • Duty to monitor the situation
  • Duty to respond and assist in emergencies
Understanding the types of kidnap

Understanding the types of kidnap

Classical kidnapping

A classical kidnapping lasts from days to months or years. Most often the motive is financial. However, political and other motives are also possible. Kidnappings are committed by individual criminals, organised crime groups, tribes and terrorist organisations or even state actors.


Maritime piracy (also known as hijacking) is the abduction and/or hostage-taking of a ship’s crew, with cases often seen in the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea.

Understanding the types of kidnap continued

Understanding the types of kidnap continued

Express kidnapping

Express kidnapping is a short-term kidnapping, which usually only lasts a few hours. The perpetrator uses the credit card owner’s PIN to withdraw money from ATMs until the limit is reached. The victim is then usually released.

Virtual kidnapping

Virtual kidnapping is in fact not a kidnapping, but fraud, in which a kidnapping is simulated. The perpetrators use cunning tricks to create or exploit situations in which the victim cannot be reached by telephone or can only communicate to a very limited extent. They call the employer or the family and give the impression that they have kidnapped the employee or family member.

Other related types of kidnapping

In a hostage taking (barricaded situation), however, the perpetrator and victim are together in a known place. Unlawful detention or pretence for arrest is also considered another type of kidnapping. There are also staged kidnappings in which the “victim” plays a part or a kidnapping for the purpose of murder or to cover up another crime.

Global risk map for kidnap

The risk of kidnap fluctuates depending on where your team are located. The majority of kidnapping victims are often locals or local employees of companies due to little or no measures to protect them, thus becoming easier to kidnap, however employees of corporate organisations, NGO’s and high net worth individuals can be seen as an attractive target to kidnap.

Kidnap & Ransom Response

map keyNegligible Risk |There is almost no threat of kidnapping. Only for very wealthy individuals general precautions against kidnapping for ransom are recommended. Express kidnapping or virtual kidnapping are extremely rare.

low risk Low Risk | There are few known abduction threats. Specific precautions regarding kidnapping for ransom are recommended only for very wealthy individuals. Express kidnapping or virtual kidnapping may occasionally pose a danger to travellers and expats.

moderate risk Moderate Risk |There is a threat of kidnapping at least in some parts of the country. Precautions and situational awareness are recommended.

high risk High Risk | There is a significant kidnapping threat in at least parts of the country. Particular vigilance, planning of the visit or stay and more elaborated protective measures are recommended.

severe risk Severe Risk | The kidnapping threat is very high nationwide. Very detailed security planning and wide-ranging protective measures are required.

Our services to support kidnap prevention

Often taking the correct steps to prevent kidnap is the best course of action to avoid a crisis, we offer a full scope of risk management services to help protect your workforce.

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To learn more about our kidnap for ransom and risk management services, contact us below

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