Tourists Kidnapped for Ransom – One Sector Bucking the Economic Downturn

March 17, 2013 |  by  |  Linkedin Blog, Security

Given the March 10th 2013 reported kidnapping of foreign construction workers in Nigeria by the Boko Haram splinter group Ansaru, the spectre of kidnapping for ransom or K&R as it’s known in the security trade continues to raise its ugly head again and again.

K&R is one business sector which is bucking the current business economic downturn.

Terrorist and organised crime Baron’s are adding kidnapping as one of the strategies for growing their business finances and raising their brand awareness.

Security MenHow is it that in the midst of the economic downturn, where the entire global economy is being shaken to its very foundations one industry is bucking the trend? 2013 and kidnap for ransom is a booming industry.

It’s easy to compare contemporary terrorist organisations to legitimate businesses, in so much as businesses spend lots of their marketing budget on social media, PR brand awareness and advertising. The oxygen that fuels any Terrorist group is publicity, and whereby a business has to spend vast sums of money to generate advertising, terrorist groups are virtually guaranteed full global media publicity if they kidnap hostages for ransom.

As a security consultant it is no secret to me that terrorist groups are shifting the goal posts to kidnap innocent tourists. The reason why is simple. Tourists are softer targets than high profile diplomats or corporate executives. Few tourists engage the services of close protection security teams which are utilised as a matter of course higher up the executive chain. The downside for kidnappers is that few tourists carry kidnap for ransom insurance.

Although many tourists perceive K&R Insurance to be too expensive, this is a myth which needs to be dispelled. Affordable K&R insurance is available from various Insurance brokers for anyone visiting overseas destinations. Although there is no such concept as 100% security, paying for a K&R policy will significantly increase your chance of being freed.

Most K&R Insurance policies are typically underwritten by Lloyds of London but offered through various world-wide Insurance brokers.

From a security advice perspective the British Foreign Office is a good starting point for travellers looking to visit ‘at risk’ destinations. They offer basic security information as well as more specific security risk advice like: “tourists travelling to various African countries should avoid travelling at night due to the presence of armed bandits.”

Although there is no substitute for professional security travel risk training or the utilisation of professional close protection security officers, applying good common security sense is a great start.

Unfortunately most people when travelling overseas seem to throw caution to the wind and are lulled into a false sense of security, sun, sea sand and booze seem to fuel this carefree lack of personal security.

For further information on kidnap for ransom insurance contact

There are of course strategies which can be implemented to reduce the risk of all security breaches. And as a Security Expert I’ve provided personal security and trained thousands of security personnel in 44 different countries through and counter kidnap for ransom is a ‘hot topic training request’.

To drive the point home I always refer to prior security case studies in my lessons.

Case Study 01:

Germany Contacts Tourist Kidnappers Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Officials have made contact with kidnappers who abducted tourists in Egypt

German officials have established direct contact with kidnappers of a 19-member tour group in Egypt. The move comes after days of trying to negotiate through mobile phone calls between one of the captives and his wife, Egyptian and Sudanese officials said.

The kidnappers, who snatched the 11 Europeans and eight Egyptians on Friday during a desert safari in Egypt, have taken their captives across the border into Sudan. Sudanese troops have located them in the desert of north western Sudan, about 15 miles from the Egyptian border, a Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

They are keeping watch on their position, but are not moving against them for fear of endangering the hostages, the spokesman said.

Germany, five of whose citizens are among the captives, has been negotiating with the kidnappers, who have demanded up to 15 million dollars in ransom, according to Egyptian officials.
Until now, negotiations were taking place through two phone calls a day between the tour company’s Egyptian owner, who was among those kidnapped, and his German wife, who lives in Egypt, an Egyptian security official said. But he said German authorities had now established direct contact.

The identity of the kidnappers remains a mystery. They are believed to be desert tribesmen. Sudan said it believes they are Egyptians. I strongly recommends that all tourists travelling overseas should give serious consideration to purchasing a kidnap for ransom insurance policy.

The five Germans, five Italians, a Romanian and eight Egyptian guides and drivers were abducted while visiting the Gilf al-Kebir, an isolated plateau some 550 miles southwest of Cairo in Egypt’s Western Desert.

I suggest the threat level never remains static for tourists and business travellers. The November 26th 2008 bombing of British and American targets in India reinforces my view. Participating in a basic security awareness training programme will significantly reduce the probability of you being kidnapped for ransom. offer both kidnap for ransom insurance and professional security training, including a home study security programme written by Dr. Mark D. Yates The British American Security Expert and utilised by business executives and tourists.

Case Study 02:

British Tourist Kidnapped From The Mali-Niger Border January 23rd 2009.

The Governor of the Malian province of Gao has released information today about the kidnapping of four European tourists which has led to an investigation by the Foreign Office. It is unclear whether a ransom has been demanded. Early indications are that one Briton, one German and two Swiss tourists were kidnapped while in Niger close to the border with Mali.

A Foreign Office spokesperson confirmed they are investigating a possible kidnapping, but were unable to confirm if a British citizen had been kidnapped. It is believed the tourists were returning from a Bi-annual Nomadic cultural festival of Tuareg culture including music, sports and crafts.

In recent years Northern Mali has been a battleground of violent incidents between Tuareg rebels and the Malian army.

This recent kidnapping comes hot on the heels of two Canadian diplomats, the United Nations envoy to Niger and his assistant who were kidnapped in Niger by terrorists on December 15th 2008.
Very few people realise that attending a short security training programme in kidnap prevention and kidnap for ransom awareness can significantly reduce the risk of you being kidnapped. Even fewer people are aware that kidnap for ransom insurance is available for tourists as well as corporate executives and diplomats.

Visit and click on their Kidnap for Ransom link on the home page. This kidnap for ransom section offers valuable security and kidnap for ransom insurance information for travellers. It also offers a threat assessment chart of the most dangerous countries in the world.

For information on world-wide dangerous locations click here.

Visit for further business networking & support for business members.

Dr. Mark D. Yates

Dr. Mark D. Yates is a global #1 LinkedIn consultancy business growth specialist, LinkedIn speaker, LinkedIn Sign & LinkedIn training instructor & CEO of Link Business Marketing Ltd. If you need to hire a LinkedIn expert to help you gain profitable business growth, contact him. Tel: UK 0203 390 2013 Email:, connect with him on LinkedIn & Twitter You can view & download his dynamic independent LinkedIn training program at:

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