JANUARY 2017 – SEMI-ANNUAL ASSESSMENT 2017-01-29T18:53:36+00:00

JANUARY 2017
SEMI-ANNUAL WORLD KIDNAP FOR RANSOM
AND EXTORTION ASSESSMENT

This semi-annual World Kidnap for Ransom and Extortion Assessment reviews the global threat from events of kidnap for ransom and extortion (“KRE”). As the raw numbers specific to KRE simply do not exist in most countries, including those considered to be “first world”, no government or organization can provide an exact number of such events.

Therefore, based upon open (OSINT) and closed source (CSINT) intelligence, including social media and other forms of Electronic (ELINT) and Human sources (HUMINT), we have written a multi-faceted intelligence assessment operating from an algorithmic rendering of the data from approximately 30,000 unambiguous annual global events of kidnap for ransom and extortion. Using the same methods and sources, we have extrapolated hundreds of thousands of unambiguously identifiable global extortions.

These reportable events mostly involve the victimization of corporate executives, business owners, government officials, NGO employees, and high net worth individuals.

There is also a possible order of magnitude in the thousands of percent higher for KRE events involving “common citizens.” The reasons for this discrepancy and the questionable reliability of reported statistics include:

  • Governmental underreporting
  • Lack of an official, government-sanctioned entity in place to track kidnappings
  • Intentional misreporting by law enforcement and individuals
  • Varying definitions or categorizations of what constitutes a KRE event
  • Law enforcement incompetence or a lack of prioritizing kidnapping as an issue

Thousands of cases are also misreported unintentionally because the causes of a homicide or other crime are related to extortions and kidnappings perpetrated for ideological motives or vendettas. These kidnappings and extortions, thus, do not have ransom payment as the ultimate end for the crime, resulting in a different classification in the final report, even if kidnapping or extortion was involved.

In addition, many KRE cases are never reported at all to authorities because of public distrust of law enforcement, the intelligence community, and government officials. Many victims will not go to police with the fear that reporting the crime may result in a retaliation by criminal groups against them or their families.

Sadly, in our over 30 years of experience and our collective response to over 3,000 KRE events, we can confirm that most cases somehow involve a member of law enforcement, the military, or a government official as an intellectual author of or direct participant in the crime. In many countries where our analysis shows that kidnapping groups are not only showing an increase in sophistication, but also that authorities are having difficulty making arrests, it is generally attributed to these groups being advised or led by well-trained active or former law enforcement or military officials. In many of the high-threat kidnapping countries, unscrupulously corrupt and underpaid law enforcement officials join criminal groups to earn extra income.

Over the years, we have also repeatedly found major discrepancies between KRE events reported in the media, the numbers provided by private organizations, and figures provided by local and national authorities.

In Mexico, for example, our analysis found a significant discrepancy between the number of kidnappings reported by the Mexican government and Mexico’s leading anti-kidnapping NGO, Alto al Secuestro. Unsurprisingly, the Alto al Secuestro figures are higher than those reported by the Mexican government, underscoring the difficulty in tracking these incidents and obtaining accurate numbers.

In a concerning evolution of the crime, the merger of ideological and criminal organizations directly benefiting from the spoils of KRE in a coordinated fashion is alarming. We have discovered in Yemen, situations in which criminal or tribal groups kidnap a foreigner and then sell the individual to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) for a fee. AQAP in turn, demands a ransom from the victim’s family or government, then tries to negotiate for a higher price to make a profit. The so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS), in particular, has a special interest in kidnapping foreigners, as they are used for propaganda. The shifting trend, then, is for foreigners to be kidnapped explicitly for the purpose of being sold to ISIS for propagandized slaughter.

It was reported in 2014 that while European governments deny paying ransoms…Al Qaeda and its direct affiliates took in at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings between 2008 and the beginning of 2014.

In news releases and statements, the United States Treasury Department has cited ransom amounts that, taken together, put the total at around $165 million over the same period.

In countries where KRE is the most endemic, wealthy local residents and/or citizens are the primary victims. Common contributing factors to the exceedingly high rate of the crime include widespread police or government corruption and involvement in the event, as well as sheer incompetence in reporting; let alone adequately managing the problem, as we often see in countries like Mexico and Nigeria. Kidnapping, then, becomes a vicious cycle as consistent reports of police involvement in kidnapping crimes leads to greater public distrust of both law enforcement and the government. This distrust then becomes a refusal by victims to file a report with authorities, affecting the final number of reported events.

There is a statistically significant correlation between high incidences of KRE, and law enforcement or government corruption.

Perpetrators of the crime come in many forms. A myriad of groups ranging from a group of drug addicts, to local criminals, ethnic or religious tribes, organized crime and drug cartels, to top terrorist organizations in the world including Abu Sayyaf, and ISIS. The one commonality shared between these various groups is the financial gain KRE provides them. It is treated like a business.

Any avenue thought to provide the perpetrators with the easiest or quickest access to money is most often exploited.

Kidnapping laws are also a contributing factor. As KRE evolves and poses a greater threat to developing economies around the world, some governments are finding that they lack the laws to successfully prosecute offenders, or that existing laws are too lenient. If laws do exist, they often go unenforced.

In Nigera, although by law a kidnapping conviction carries the death penalty, kidnappings continue all over the country. Kidnappers ignore the death penalty laws because the justice system is convoluted and the conviction rate is extremely low.

In nations like Mozambique, which is a Level 4 risk for kidnapping and whose penal codes carried over from colonial rule, did not establish kidnapping as a crime until 2013.

Finally, the increasing fusion of ideological actors with common criminals, jointly and severally seeking and dividing ransom money to nurture their activities, is producing marked spikes in KRE in areas formerly thought to be immune from such events. Indeed, the ideologues are being trained by experienced criminal organizations and refining their KRE skills.

Nothing better illustrates this phenomenon than Northern Africa, where a southward-heading balloon of KRE events is being squeezed as local criminals are being radicalized from the Sahel outward.

Similarly, a great fear in South America is the radicalization of drug gangs who normally supplemented their income between shipments or crops with KRE, and are now are expanding and increasing the volume of their criminal activities with the help of their ideologically motivated new partners.

In a 2012 speech, David S. Cohen, the United States Treasury Department’s Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence said, “Kidnapping for ransom has become today’s most significant source of terrorist financing,”, and concluded, “…each transaction encourages another transaction.”

Even Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula wrote,“Kidnapping hostages is an easy spoil, which I may describe as a profitable trade and a precious treasure.”

The stream of income generated by KRE is so significant that internal documents show that as far back as five years ago, Al Qaeda’s central command in Pakistan was overseeing negotiations for hostages grabbed as far as North Africa. Moreover, the accounts from survivors held thousands of miles apart show that the three main affiliates of the terrorist group — Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) , operating out of North Africa; Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operating out of Yemen; and Al-Shabaab in Somalia — are coordinating their efforts and abiding by a common kidnapping protocol.

A country, region, or city typically experiences an evolution of the crime. The KRE cycle typically begins with criminal gangs perpetrating robberies and/or extortions. Robberies and/or extortions escalate into express kidnappings — Rapid, violent, and short term, usually 24 hours or less for low amounts of money gained from the maximum draw off of ATM account — if indicia or suspicion of wealth exists. On a parallel track is an escalation into virtual kidnappings — communication from a criminal or criminals alleging that a kidnapping has occurred, when in fact, nothing has happened. Generally, these occur late at night in order to confuse potential victims into paying a ransom when no crime has perpetrated. Express and virtual kidnappings escalate into novice, and particularly violent attempts to exact ransoms. The final evolution of KRE sees these events become full-blown, highly sophisticated, multi-actor KRE operations.

Moreover, as previously stated, what was often a cyclical phenomenon is becoming a pernicious crime as perpetrators evolve through need, as they too maintain payrolls, require an evening out of cash flow, and have opened the “Pandora’s box” of easy funds being introduced into the clutches and influence of newly introduced ideological actors.

Indeed, according to the Times, “to minimize the risk to their fighters, the terror affiliates have outsourced the seizing of hostages to criminal groups who work on commission. Negotiators take a reported 10 percent of the ransom, creating an incentive on both sides of the Mediterranean to increase the overall payout, according to former hostages and senior counterterrorism officials.”

Estimated Payments by Countries (Non-US/UK) until 2013
(Source NYT)

The term “mass kidnapping” is normally not associated with airplanes; however, the 9/11 terrorist attacks changed the security posture around the world and how we view the threat and the possibility for criminal attacks on a massive scale. The 9/11 bipartisan commission concluded that the terrorist attacks resulted from a failure of imagination on the part of security and intelligence analysts, and that the possibility that an individual could hijack an airplane and use it as a weapon of mass destruction was a now a very plausible scenario.

Since the Arab Spring protests destabilized the Middle East 2011, and terror groups like ISIS have taken massive swathes of land, we have seen these groups and their supporters resorting more and more to mass kidnappings and executing massive attacks in places that were once thought incapable of being victimized.

However, despite the recent scaling up of major attacks and kidnappings by terror groups, mass kidnappings have been the standard for drug traffickers and other militant groups for decades.

On 30 May 1999, Colombia’s ELN terrorist group reportedly kidnapped approximately 285 people from a church in Cali, eventually most of the victims were released.

In 2010, militants dressed in police uniforms abducted 60 people, including women and children, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan.

In January 2013, al-Qaeda-linked terrorists took over 800 people hostage at the Tigantourine gas facility near In Amenas, Algeria. After four days, the Algerian Special Forces raided the site, in an effort to free the hostages. At least 39 foreign hostages were killed along with an Algerian security guard, as were 29 militants. A total of 685 Algerian workers and 107 foreigners were freed.

On 15 April 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped more than 250 girls from a secondary school in the town of Chibok, northeast Borno state, Nigeria, and torched the surrounding town. Some of the girls have escaped over time, but many remain prisoners and slaves to Boko Haram. Accounts given by some of the liberated girls reveal that many had been used as sex slaves, human shields, and suicide bombers.

In February 2015, the Islamic State group kidnapped approximately 230 Assyrian Christians in Syria. All were eventually released after paying a ransom.

In March 2015, Boko Haram reportedly abducted at least 300 elementary schoolchildren and around 100 more women and children in the town of Damasak, Borno State, in probably the largest mass kidnapping by Boko Haram in years.

On 4 August 2015, at least eight people were killed and about 100 people, including children were kidnapped by Boko Haram militants in an overnight raid on Tchakarmari village in Cameroon, in the largest number of Cameroonians kidnapped by Boko Haram in a single incident.

On 5 November 2015, gunmen kidnapped as many as 50 Tunisians in western Libya to demand the release of a Libyan arrested in Tunisia, in the second mass kidnaping of Tunisians in less than a month. In mid-October, some 55 Tunisians were kidnapped in Libya in retaliation for the arrest of a Libyan official in Tunisia. All were eventually released.

In February 2016, a group of Eritrean armed men dressed in military uniforms allegedly carried out a mass kidnapping of over 80 young Ethiopian miners at Kafta-Humera district in Tsirga Girmai. The abducted were among the estimated 400 traditional gold miners who had long been engaged in gold mining activities near the Ethiopia-Eritrea border. This was the first mass kidnapping since 2012, when Eritrean soldiers similarly crossed the border into Ethiopia and kidnapped over 100 miners in the region.

In October 2016, a mass kidnapping of about 41 Ugandans traders riding in three buses occurred in South Sudan. Eight were released after a ransom was paid and 11 escaped, leaving 22. The rebels have demanded a ransom for the release of the remaining abducted Ugandans.

Mass kidnapping of migrants by narco-traffickers in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico is a common occurrence.

9/11 taught us the importance of being prepared for the unexpected, that there are no limits to a terrorist’s imagination; and, that terrorists, cartels, criminals, and other extremists are always finding ways to surprise the world with barbarism. They, unfortunately, always seem to be one step ahead of law enforcement, security, and intelligence services around the world.

The threat of mass kidnapping, to include airplanes and other forms of mass transit, is a possibility that cannot be discounted.

It is impossible to completely eliminate risks or prevent a mass kidnapping especially in a high-threat area. Ensuring that all security planning is integrated and rehearsed is essential to trying to mitigate risks and limit exposure in crises.

As further mass kidnapping incidents occur, government security and intelligence agencies, as well as potential victims will need to adapt new standards and protocols to afford the greatest security given the circumstances.

Security managers around the globe are at the tip of the spear. They must be properly trained to “think outside of the box” and “think like the enemy” and be empowered to implement the security measures necessary to protect the company’s personnel and installations. Similarly, families must make all members, regardless of age, aware of the ever-growing threats posed by their wealth or perception thereof.

In all of our analysis and algorithmic renderings, we have found that Virtual kidnapping is the fastest growing form of the crime. It is an event in which a payer is tricked into believing that a victim has actually been taken, when in fact, they are somewhere safe, but inaccessible; or, the payer does not verify the well-being of the purported victim.

The crime usually requires no more than two men, a cellular phone and an Internet connection. This type of event often involves small-time criminals claiming to be members of some of the most notorious criminal gangs in the world.

The initial information about the family comes from simple and openly accessible information found via Facebook, Twitter, and Google searches. In many cases, the criminals have personal information on the victim such as their address, what kind of vehicles they use, and other family details.

Virtual kidnappings can occur anywhere, but lately the predominance of the reporting comes from Mexico, where the targets of choice seem to be Spanish and Colombian tourists, as well as in Argentina against locals. There has also been a rapid expansion of this type of KRE event in Africa.

Argentina has seen an alarming increase of attempted and successfully executed virtual kidnappings, estimating it in the thousands of cases every year, catapulting the country as the leader in the world for this crime. The dramatic increase in virtual kidnapping cases began around 2013 and continued relatively uninterrupted despite some arrests in the past two years.

The proof lies in the statistics. In 2015, authorities arrested a gang of six people in the city of Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires Province, that made an average of about 150 attempted virtual kidnapping calls per night. Due to the large number of virtual kidnapping calls, the gang was planning to set up a virtual kidnapping “call center” before it was taken down. This group is likely only one of dozens of gangs operating in 11 provinces throughout the country.

Despite the growth trend represented in the numbers, a police report from early 2016 claims that the number of virtual kidnapping cases is declining in Buenos Aires. We believe the report to be questionable given that the police force lacks a good understanding of the magnitude of the virtual kidnapping problem in the country. Becoming a victim of virtual kidnapping is a very humiliating experience, based on the nature of the crime (being fooled into believing an abduction has occurred). Therefore, victims are probably less inclined to report a virtual kidnapping to the police or local authorities, which leads to underreporting of incidents. Although most of the cases affect locals, all personnel visiting Argentina should be aware of this threat.

As with extortion, virtual kidnappings, if paid, become a precursor and invitation to other forms of KRE, including drawn-out, well executed events.

That being said, extortion figures are now unambiguously in the hundreds of thousands of events per year. There are many forms of extortion; however, falling prey to the threat typically provokes an escalation of the type of KRE crime the victim is likely to suffer in short order.

Cyber Extortion is rapidly becoming the greatest threat to the national security of the United States, Western allies, and multinational corporations. Terrorists and criminals will continue to use the Internet and social media to organize, recruit, spread propaganda, collect intelligence, raise funds, and coordinate operations.

Criminals develop and use sophisticated cyber tools for a variety of purposes such as theft, extortion, and facilitation of other criminal activities such as drug trafficking. “Ransomware”- software designed to block user access to their own data, commonly by encrypting it – is becoming a particularly effective and popular tool used for extortion and for which few options for recovery are easily available. Spy programs and malware are also increasingly being discovered on state and local government networks.

Unfortunately, anyone can be a victim of traditional, express, or virtual kidnapping and extortion. The victim’s family, friends, company, or government’s ability – or apparent ability – to pay the ransom is often a key consideration whilst targeting potential victims. In most KRE cases (excluding vendetta and ideological or political KRE events), the perpetrators expect some financial gain. The elderly, spouses, and children of prominent public and private figures are increasingly becoming the preferred targets of kidnappers because they present much “softer,” or, easier targets.

Any personnel traveling into level “5” or “4” countries should be concerned not only with personal protection and KRE insurance, but also a policy and security for the entire family. Family members should also be briefed on the security threat and advised on measures to avoid becoming a victim of kidnapping or other crimes.

Kidnapping organizations generally consist of local criminals and foreign nationals with varying levels of skill, either working together or independently. It is not uncommon to see a kidnapping group comprised of criminals from three or four different countries, working closely with foreign nationals of the same or different ethnic group

One of the most predominant ethnic groups implicated in kidnapping reports is comprised of transnational Pakistanis. There are multiple intelligence reports of Pakistani kidnapping groups operating, in some cases with locals, in Malaysia, Mozambique, South Africa, Oman, and Kuwait. Pakistan is among the top 24 countries in the world for kidnapping. Pakistanis have also been identified as transnational terror actors in South America and Mexico.

The rise of the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) has added another major player to the world of kidnapping. ISIS not only kidnaps for ransom, but also executes its hostages for propaganda purposes and political intimidation. The Islamic State has executed high-value hostages from the US, UK, Japan, Russia, and Jordan. ISIS will continue its propaganda and intimidation campaign, threatening to kill hostages and citizens of countries involved in the anti-ISIS coalition will be targeted in an attempt at exerting pressure on coalition governments with the purpose of putting an end to their military, political, and financial actions against the group.

Across the globe, kidnappers are increasingly using the Internet and cell phones to perpetrate kidnappings and other crimes. Criminals and terrorists use unrestricted and/or foolishly divulging pages on social media to collect information, and then use said information to target victims and extort family members. Cases of victims being lured into a kidnapping setup via Facebook are also becoming more common.

In Mexico and Argentina, criminals use multiple cellular phones in order to occupy and confuse victims and their families to prevent contact with the alleged kidnapping victim as well as the authorities.

There is a certain level of intelligence work involved in well-executed kidnappings, and Facebook and Twitter make it exponentially easier to gather information. Criminals often spend several months checking accounts and studying a person’s daily movements in order to plan a KRE event. Even an innocent photograph of a user’s home could reveal valuable information about security systems that could be used to plan kidnappings.

In the Philippines for example, police advise the public to limit or control the content they post on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking websites. Police also advise the public to secure their social media accounts to a private security setting so as to limit the people who view their posts.

Ransom demands and payment amounts vary by country, group, and type of kidnapping. There is no “standard” amount for any country or group in particular, thus it falls on us and others in the intelligence and law enforcement communities to constantly update information regarding such changes. The ransom figure is normally determined by the real or, in most cases, perceived financial situation of the victim.

In a well-negotiated case, the kidnappers will settle for much less money than originally demanded, but in some cases, less is not acceptable.

When malicious groups know a specific country is willing to pay a ransom, the threat of kidnapping and security risk for its citizens locally and overseas increases exponentially.

Many victims are kidnapped by groups with the expectation that they have the financial means to pay a large ransom, only to find they do not; as was the case of South African teacher Pierre Korkie, who was killed during a US-Yemeni rescue operation, a day before his scheduled release by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). AQAP originally demanded $3 million dollars but reportedly was willing to accept $200,000 to release him.

Governments and private organizations generally deny that any ransom payment has been made to kidnapping groups, either because it is against the law, or because it is politically unacceptable. When Information on a kidnapping or ransom payment is leaked directly via traditional media or indirectly through social media, it usually comes from a member of the victim’s family, or the victims themselves.

In March 2015, the Czech government paid a $6-million ransom to secure the release of Czech psychology students Hana Humpalova and Antonie Chrastecka kidnapped in Balochistan, Pakistan in March 2013.

In June 2015, kidnapped Argentine agricultural engineer Santiago López Ménendez, was released on 27 June in Niger State, Nigeria after paying a ransom.

On 5 October 2015, judicial sources in Aleppo, Syria said that a nearly 11 million-euro ransom was paid for the release in January 2015 of Italian aid workers Greta Ramelli and Vanessa Marzullo, who were abducted together in Abzimo in July 2014. The sources said one of the people involved in the ransom negotiations, Hussam Atrash, pocketed nearly half of the ransom with the remaining money divided among local warlords.

On 8 December 2015, Poland’s Prime Minister Beata Szydlo announced the release of five kidnapped Polish sailors implying that a ransom had been paid for their release, although the amount was not disclosed.

In February 2016, businessman Elias Ukachukwu who was kidnapped in November 2015 from the Festac area of Lagos State, Nigeria, was released after a $2 million ransom payment. Ukachukwu’s kidnappers demanded an additional $1 million from his family after receiving an initial payment of $1 million.

Saul Apreza Patron, the mayor of the town of Olinala, Guerrero State, Mexico was freed on 13 January 2016 after paying an unspecified amount in ransom.

Former president of the United Church of Christ in Nigeria, Reverend Emmanuel Dziggau, who was kidnapped along with two pastors back in March 2016 and later freed, broke his silence in early December revealing that N$ 4 million was paid for their release. In an interview, Dziggau said that the ransom was not paid by the government, but probably was paid by his church. This was a rare confirmation that a church in Nigeria was actually involved in paying a ransom to free one of its pastors.

In July 2016, gunmen abducted Peter Ofulue, an officer of the Lagos Immigration Service, for a second time outside of his apartment in the Owutu, Ikorodu area, four days after he was released from captivity. According to family sources, Ofulue was freed the first time after the family paid N$ 300,000 in ransom. For the second abduction, the kidnappers asked for N$2 million in ransom.

Terrorists groups including ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and its affiliates, tend to demand larger ransom payments than common criminals, in part because they are dealing with governments and large, multinational corporations. It is not uncommon to see terrorists’ ransom demands in the millions of dollars. Terrorists tend to hold foreigners captive longer than locals and are less likely to lower their ransom demand.

In October, 2013, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) released four French hostages kidnapped back in 2010 after a reported ransom payment of $36 million.

Boko Haram kidnapped a French family of seven in northern Cameroon in February 2013 and released them in April 2013. Boko Haram was given the equivalent of $3.15 million by French and Cameroonian negotiators to release the family.

As of October 2016, the Philippine terrorist group Abu Sayyaf had netted at least $7.4 million from ransom payments, the majority of the money coming from kidnapping foreigners. At least $2.5 million alone has been paid to Abu Sayyaf for the release of 17 Indonesian hostages since May 2016. The $2.5 million did not include the ransom payment for three additional Indonesians.

ISIS is believed to have received millions of dollars over the period of a year in 2015 and 2016 for the release of approximately 230 Assyrian Christians abducted in Syria.

Terrorist and criminal groups typically know which countries pay a ransom and intentionally target their citizens for kidnapping. The citizens of these countries are generally at a higher risk of kidnapping than other nations, whose governments refuse to negotiate with terrorists and pay a ransom. Some exceptions include the US and Great Britain. Citizens of these two countries are considered high-value targets to be used for propaganda purposes even though their respective governments refuse to negotiate and pay a ransom.

It is estimated that in the past three and a half years, Al Qaeda-affiliated and other Islamist extremist groups have collected at least $105 million in ransom payments.

The so-called “Islamic State” terrorist group received between $35 million and $45 million in ransom payments in 2014, according to a UN expert.

The UN Security Council on 27 January 2014 strongly condemned incidents of kidnapping and hostage-taking committed by terrorists for any purpose, including raising funds or gaining political concessions, and called for international cooperation. In its first-ever resolution on kidnapping for ransom by terrorists, the 15-member body called on all member states to prevent terrorists from benefitting directly or indirectly from ransom payments.

The resolution noted that ransom payments to terrorist groups are one of the sources of income which supports their recruitment efforts, strengthens their operational capability to organize and carry out terrorist attacks, and incentivizes future incidents of kidnapping for ransom.

In early 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte accidentally revealed that a P$50 million (US$1 million) ransom was paid for the release of Norwegian hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad, but the Abu Sayyaf terror group had not freed him. The announcement was an extremely unusual admission by a president of a national government’s possible involvement in the payment of a ransom to a terrorist group. Duterte did not provide specific details on where the money came from; if it was from the Philippines, Norway, or a third party.

Reporting shows that some governments are paying ransom although they are using third parties as plausible denial.

In some countries, the public is becoming increasingly frustrated with the government’s inability to stop kidnappings and reports that law enforcement personnel are also involved in this crime. Public demonstrations are not uncommon.

In Mozambique in 2013, thousands of people took to the streets to protest the kidnapping and brutal killing of a 13-year-old boy.

In Pakistan, doctors have been on strike several times to protest the kidnapping of their colleagues.

In Kenya in 2013, there were at least two cases of vigilantes taking the law into their hands and attacking individuals suspected of involvement in kidnappings.

In eastern Libya, residents of a small town blocked a highway to protest the kidnapping of two Italian engineers.

A woman accused of an attempt to kidnap three primary school pupils in Abule-Egba, Lagos, Nigeria was set on fire by an angry mob on 6 May 2014.

On 5 May 2014, at a hospital in the southeastern city of Guaruja, Brazil, Maria de Jesus died after being beaten by a mob accusing her of kidnapping a child. Neighbors attacked her after rumors circulated on social media accusing the woman of having abducted several children for use in occult rituals.

On 11 April 2014, a woman suspected to have abducted eight children was lynched by a mob in llorin, Nigeria. The woman was stripped by the mob and angered participants attempted to set her on fire while inflicting machete cuts and beating her with clubs and stones. The arrival of local police prevented the mob from setting the suspect on fire.

On 25 February 2016, an angry crowd in the town of Moatize, in Tete province, Mozambique confused a plain-clothes policeman with a kidnapper, and lynched him. The policeman reportedly had gone undercover in Moatize to investigate the kidnapping of albinos.

In March, 2016, a mob lynched a Honduran man in the town of Chapulco, Puebla State, suspected of trying to kidnap someone. The individual was freed from the mob but later died in the hospital. The Honduran man was the seventh person to be lynched in that state since 2015.

In March 2016, villagers in Balakasi village, Machinga, Malawi severely beat a police officer and two other people, one a businessman and the other a teacher, suspected of being involved in albino abductions.

In May 2016, hundreds of residents in the small town of Atlatongo, Teotihuacan, Mexico State, beat two suspected kidnappers – a man and a woman – to death and seriously injured a third suspect. According to a study by the Mexico City-based Metropolitan Autonomous University, a total of 160 lynchings occurred in Mexico state between 2010 and 2014, although not all were related to kidnappings. 

On 3 May 2016, for the second time in less than a week, an angry mob in Luenha, Changara district, Tete province Mozambique destroyed property belonging to a man suspected of kidnapping children. A last minute police intervention saved the Zimbabwean man from a possible lynching. The first attack on an alleged kidnapper in Changara occurred on 29 April. A Mozambican man was accused of purchasing a nine-year-old girl from her mother, and then murdering and dismembering her. 

On 17 June 2016, hundreds of Afghans staged a protest in Kabul demanding greater security after a recent spate of mass kidnappings that targeted groups of civilians in the country’s northeast.

Among the Level 5 or Level 4 countries in our global KRE threat level chart (see section 24 of this report), only two, Colombia and Malaysia, are amongst the 50 nations globally considered to be economically free and stable.

This suggests a relationship between economically free or stable countries and low levels of KRE.

In addition, countries categorized as Level 4 or 5 are amongst the most corrupt countries in the world; suggesting there is a statistically significant link between widespread corruption and high levels of KRE events.

The countries with a very high threat level for locals, and occasionally visiting foreigners in our internal categorization of likelihood of events, as opposed to a strictly per capita relationship, and not in any specific order, are:

  • México
  • Venezuela
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • India
  • Afghanistan
  • Honduras
  • Guatemala
  • Philippines
  • Colombia

Countries with a high threat level for kidnapping of locals, and not in any specific order, include:

  • Malaysia
  • Nepal
  • Kenya
  • Mozambique
  • Lebanon
  • Ukraine
  • Russia
  • Haiti
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Brazil
  • Argentina
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Algeria

These listings are based solely on the data we have analyzed on kidnappings-for-ransom, not any other kinds of kidnapping or extortion and only include the high net worth local citizens and occasional visiting foreigners.

For this second category, it must be made clear that ranking the threat levels or listing these countries below is not meant to imply that a large amount of foreigners are kidnapped frequently from these locations. Their inclusion recognizes the potential threat or presence of either militant groups or organized crime networks that raise many of their operating funds from ransoms, and have shown their willingness to abduct and hold foreigners, sometimes for extended periods of time.

There is also the unpredictable element of simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or where a street crime morphs into a kidnapping once the identity of the victim, particularly due to a familiar or corporate relationship, becomes known to the hostage takers.

From the perspective of a foreigner (particularly Western) either working or traveling abroad, the countries with a very high threat level, not in any specific order, are:

  • Somalia
  • Yemen
  • Nigeria
  • Sudan
  • Venezuela
  • Pakistan
  • Afghanistan
  • Philippines
  • Mali
  • Iraq
  • Libya

Countries with a high threat level for kidnapping of foreigners, and not in any specific order, include:

  • Colombia
  • Mexico
  • Kenya
  • Mauritania
  • Algeria
  • India (Assam State)
  • Malaysia

Many multinational businesses face risks that are specific to the region or field in which they operate. Sections 16-22 are a breakdown of which industries face which threats in the various regions in the world. It should be noted that criminal organizations very often do not distinguish between a global multi-national company and a regionally dominant enterprise with cross-border interests.

In Latin America, the risks a company typically encounters or needs to plan around include extortion, kidnapping of personnel, theft of product, violent crime targeting employees of all levels, as well as civil unrest affecting operations.

Extortion is the risk most commonly affecting multinational companies operating in Latin America, as the phenomenon is widespread or at least present in almost every Latin American country. These extortion threats may be perpetrated by organized criminal groups or small, unorganized, local criminals and generally involve the demand of a monthly or annual payment in order to prevent a company being targeted by an act of violent crime that would affect not only the company’s operations, but also its profits.

Extortion is most common in Mexico, Honduras, Venezuela, Colombia, Guatemala and Ecuador. Violent crime is pervasive in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Ecuador, Brazil and Venezuela.

Civil unrest due to either political or labor-related issues is common in, Haiti, Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela.

Militant, rebel, and drug trafficking groups have the capabilities to affect companies’ operations through kidnappings, extortion and sabotage attacks in Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Paraguay, and Venezuela.

Out of all the industries in the region, the manufacturing industry in northern Mexico is particularly affected by kidnapping, extortion, violent crime and theft of product.

The industries by SIC code, in which companies and/or their employees are most vulnerable to the aforementioned threats are as follows:

Mining: 10-14

Manufacturing: 20-39 (particularly Petroleum – 29)

Pipelines: 46

Engineering: 87

Wholesale Trade: 50-51

Agricultural Production: 01-02

Depository Institutions: 60

In North Africa and the Middle East, the most common risks or threats include terrorism and/or militant activity, political instability or civil unrest as well as kidnapping and/or extortion, as illustrated by events in Algeria and the Sahel region, the Arab Spring, and the volatile history of the region as a whole. This month’s rapid escalation of Gaza-based hostilities is still morphing and expanding in incalculable ways.

Countries that have recently and traditionally been the flashpoints for these risks include: Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Tunisia, Israel, the Gaza Strip and Palestinian Territories, Iraq, and Iran.

The industries most commonly affected in this region include:

Mining: 10-14

Pipelines: 46

Engineering: 87

Health Services: 80

Non-Governmental Organizations

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the risks are very similar to those found in MENA, with less of a threat posed by civil unrest and more of a threat posed by violent crime. Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country, is widely considered to be the most dangerous, and poses virtually every kind of security risk; from kidnapping and extortion, to terrorism and militant activity, to violent crime, cybercrime, and political instability.

Several of the countries surrounding Nigeria including Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, experience somewhat of an overflow of these phenomena, although not nearly to the extent that Nigeria does.

Given that mineral, oil or petroleum extraction, and manufacturing/refinement are the dominant industries in much of this area, companies working in these industries are most commonly targeted.

In Western Africa, political instability and the civil unrest that it often produces is the primary threat, affecting countries such as Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Gambia.

Internal conflict has also long plagued the Democratic Republic of the Congo and many of its neighbors. In South Africa, violent crime is the main security threat.

Affected industries include:

Mining: 10-14

Petroleum Manufacturing/Refining: 29

Construction: 15-17

Pipelines: 46

Engineering: 87

Water Transportation: 44

Health Services: 80

In South Asia, the presence of terrorist groups and militants throughout the region but especially in countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and India pose the most significant risk to organizations (Western organizations in particular) operating in the region through targeted attacks, kidnapping, and extortion. The downsizing of US military forces in Afghanistan and the resurgence of Al-Qaeda in conjunction with the increased presence of ISIS, present new security risks in that country for the United States and its allies.

Political instability in countries such as Pakistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan creates the potential for civil unrest to affect operations, while civil unrest stemming from labor-related and/or cultural issues is prevalent in India and Bangladesh.

Specific risks and areas of concern include the targeting of engineering and construction firms in India’s Assam State and surrounding areas, violent crime in Karachi, Pakistan and New Delhi, India, risks such as labor actions and protests facing textile manufacturers in Bangladesh, and piracy affecting the fishing industry off Bangladesh’s coast.

Affected industries include:

Mining: 10-14

Construction: 15-17

Manufacturing: 20-39 (Particularly Textile [22] in Bangladesh)

Pipelines: 46

Engineering: 87

Health Services: 80

Fishing, Hunting and Trapping: 09 (Bangladesh)

NGOs

In the Asia-Pacific region, violent crime is not as serious a threat as elsewhere in the world, with the exception of certain areas like Manila, Philippines, where it is a more significant concern.

Cybercrime and intellectual property theft is a rapidly growing concern in the area as well, particularly in China. There are militant groups active in Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia that have been known to target Western interests.

In the Philippines, the Al-Qaeda affiliated Abu Sayyaf group has been implicated in numerous high-profile kidnappings.

Civil unrest due to political instability has seriously affected security conditions in Thailand, particularly Bangkok in recent years.

In Indonesia, a strong Islamist presence and anti-Western sentiment has manifested itself in the form of terrorist attacks, civil unrest and violent crime targeting Western and/or Christian entities.

Affected industries include:

Mining: 10-14

Business Services: 73

Manufacturing: 20-39

Engineering: 87

Water Transportation: 44

The threat of terrorist attacks in Europe has never been higher. The involvement of EU countries in the anti-ISIS coalition and the possibility that a number of EU citizens fighting alongside the terror group will return home has raised the possibility of more terrorist attacks in Europe. Recent terrorist strikes in France, Germany, and Belgium and arrests throughout the continent, are an indication the Islamic State is planning attacks against Western targets in Europe. Attacks by “lone wolf” terrorists cannot be discounted. The un-vetted influx of hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa and the freedom of movement in the Schengen countries further add to the complexity and risk of “lone wolf” terror.

Civil unrest often manifests itself in large-scale strikes or protests and has the potential to disrupt services or affect security situations (e.g., riots in Greece) but typically does not last as long as in other regions of the world. However, in countries where there is pervasive corruption, crimes such as extortion are common (Italy, Eastern Europe, Russia).

On a global scale, the industries most affected by security risks are extraction (mining and energy), manufacturing industry (particularly petroleum refining) and engineering.

Non-governmental organizations are notorious targets primarily due to their high visibility, relatively small security infrastructure, and typically laissez-faire attitude of invincibility due to their perceived noble cause.

The countries that pose the most serious risks to multinational companies, and not in any specific order, include:

  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
  • Mexico
  • Venezuela
  • Nigeria
  • Algeria
  • Mali
  • Somalia
  • Syria
  • Iraq
  • Libya

Anyone can be a victim of a kidnapping while traveling overseas, especially while traveling in a high-risk country. In high-threat areas, it is recommended not to travel alone. If on official business or traveling as a tourist, one should have company or Embassy numbers readily available in the event of an emergency and notify respective Embassies upon arrival. It is imperative that travelers maintain situational awareness of their surroundings at all times. The possibility of becoming a victim of kidnapping should be part of any pre-travel security briefing as it is critical that travelers know and understand the threat.

In terms of kidnap-for-ransom, we believe the best way to look at the global phenomenon is to measure a country’s threat level on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest threat of kidnapping.

In terms of highest threat levels, we have identified 24 countries and territories in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East where the risk for KRE and the potential thereof is the highest in the world. In these areas, threats and the actualization of such events are reported in the media or intercepted through interpersonal chatter on a daily or nearly daily basis.

It should be noted that the absence of kidnapping cases in a given country or a decline in the number of cases reported by the government, NGOs, or the media, does not necessarily mean that the threat has diminished. As we repeated in this assessment, many kidnapping cases are not reported to authorities, or do not garner media attention. Even if a Level 5 country experienced a reduction in the number of kidnappings, the social, economic, political, and security conditions may still exist for it to be rated as a high-risk country.

The countries on our Tier One (Level 5 of 5) list share some, if not all of the following characteristics:

  • Widespread Government and Police Corruption
  • Police, military or other government involvement in kidnappings
  • Political and economic Instability
  • High unemployment
  • High Crime
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Active Insurgencies or Terrorist Groups such as ISIS or Al-Qaeda and its Affiliates

Additionally, the security forces of these countries are overwhelmed and engaged in fighting an insurgency, drug cartels, terrorists, high crime, or are dealing with internal political instability and lack the resources and personnel to address the lower priority KRE problem.

Furthermore, the existence of porous borders and ungoverned or under-governed areas also contributes to the impunity and success of such groups. It is not a coincidence that 17 of the 24 level 5 countries have active terrorist groups or insurgencies as they are increasingly turning to KRE to finance their operations.

Below are the current numerical values and an explanation of each threat level, as well as a list of the countries categorized within each respective level.

The countries and territories are organized in alphabetical order, and not by amount of kidnapping risk. There is also a color-coded chart at the end of this Assessment for these rankings and a repeated explanation of each threat level below.


Very high – 5
:
The threat of kidnapping is very high. Daily or nearly daily kidnappings are being recorded. These are the top risk countries in the world. A KRE travel warning with measured restrictions should be implemented with the best methods of security practices enforced. Personnel should take extreme precautions when traveling to level 5 countries.

  • Afghanistan
  • Central African Republic
  • Colombia
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Gaza Strip
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Iraq
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Palestinian Territories
  • Philippines
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Venezuela
  • West Bank
  • Yemen


High – 4
: The threat of KRE is high. The situation in these countries is approaching alarming levels, and KRE events occur frequently (weekly or several times a week). KRE events are an acknowledged concern for the governments of these countries. A KRE travel advisory should be implemented with the best methods for security practices enforced.

  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Bangladesh
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Cameroon
  • Chad
  • Congo, Republic of the
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Kenya
  • Mali
  • Mozambique
  • Nepal
  • Nicarágua
  • Níger
  • South Africa
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Tunisia


Medium – 3
: Emerging Threat category. Several classical kidnappings have been recorded within the last year. This is closely monitored inasmuch as new KRE groups are beginning to organize. We note police/government involvement in KRE events in these countries. The situation in these countries is not as serious as in countries categorized in levels 4 or 5, but KRE events are being regularly detected. The population is concerned and communicates about this threat.

  • Belize
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cambodia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ethiopia
  • Iran
  • Liberia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Peru
  • Russia
  • Togo
  • Turkey
  • Western Sahara
  • Zimbabwe

Low – 2: Low threat of KRE, although there have been a few reported cases within the last two years. KRE cases are isolated and do not pose a broad threat to the general population. There is growing concern, with close monitoring and reporting of KRE trending.

  • China
  • Costa Rica
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • French Guiana
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Jamaica
  • Lesotho
  • Morocco
  • Namibia
  • Oman
  • Panama
  • Rwanda
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Suriname
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • Zambia

Insignificant – 1: No imminent threat of KRE. No or relatively few reported cases of KRE within the past two years.

The list of countries in this category includes the 138 remaining countries and territories not categorized 5-2.

Examples of a category 1 country include places like Chile, which has one of the strongest democracies in the region and is politically and economically stable. Its police force, the Carabineros are among the most professional and least corrupt law enforcement agencies in Latin America, significantly reducing the possibility of police involvement in kidnappings. The Chilean military is also viewed as one of the most professional in the region.

According to Transparency International, Chile is the second least corrupt country in Latin America, behind Uruguay, and 23rd overall in the world. On the Heritage foundation list, Chile is among the top economically free countries, ranked #7, out of 178 countries. Kidnap for ransom is unlikely to gain a foothold in Chile in the foreseeable future.

GLOBAL KRE RATINGS

CountryRegionKRE LEVEL
AfghanistanASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)5
AlbaniaEASTERN EUROPE1
AlgeriaNORTHERN AFRICA4
American SamoaOCEANIA1
AndorraWESTERN EUROPE1
AngolaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA4
AnguillaLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
Antigua & BarbudaLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
ArgentinaLATIN AMER. & CARIB4
ArmeniaC.W. OF IND. STATES1
ArubaLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
AustraliaOCEANIA1
AustriaWESTERN EUROPE1
AzerbaijanC.W. OF IND. STATES1
Bahamas, The LATIN AMER. & CARIB1
BahrainNEAR EAST1
BangladeshASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)4
BarbadosLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
BelarusC.W. OF IND. STATES1
BelgiumWESTERN EUROPE1
BelizeLATIN AMER. & CARIB3
BeninSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA1
BermudaNORTHERN AMERICA1
BhutanASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)1
BoliviaLATIN AMER. & CARIB4
Bosnia & HerzegovinaEASTERN EUROPE3
BotswanaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA3
BrazilLATIN AMER. & CARIB4
British Virgin Is.LATIN AMER. & CARIB1
BruneiASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)1
BulgariaEASTERN EUROPE1
Burkina FasoSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA3
BurmaASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)1
BurundiSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA1
CambodiaASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)3
CameroonSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA4
CanadaNORTHERN AMERICA1
Cape VerdeSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA1
Cayman IslandsLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
Central African Rep.SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA5
ChadSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA4
ChileLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
ChinaASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)2
ColombiaLATIN AMER. & CARIB5
ComorosSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA1
Congo, Dem. Rep. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA5
Congo, Repub. of the SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA4
Cook IslandsOCEANIA1
Costa RicaLATIN AMER. & CARIB2
Cote d'IvoireSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA4
CroatiaEASTERN EUROPE1
CubaLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
CyprusNEAR EAST1
Czech RepublicEASTERN EUROPE1
DenmarkWESTERN EUROPE1
DjiboutiSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA1
DominicaLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
Dominican RepublicLATIN AMER. & CARIB3
East TimorASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)1
EcuadorLATIN AMER. & CARIB4
EgyptNORTHERN AFRICA4
El SalvadorLATIN AMER. & CARIB4
Equatorial GuineaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA2
EritreaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA2
EstoniaBALTICS1
EthiopiaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA3
Faroe IslandsWESTERN EUROPE1
FijiOCEANIA1
FinlandWESTERN EUROPE1
FranceWESTERN EUROPE1
French GuianaLATIN AMER. & CARIB2
French PolynesiaOCEANIA1
GabonSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA2
Gambia, The SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA2
Gaza StripNEAR EAST5
GeorgiaC.W. OF IND. STATES1
GermanyWESTERN EUROPE1
GhanaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA2
GibraltarWESTERN EUROPE1
GreeceWESTERN EUROPE1
GreenlandNORTHERN AMERICA1
GrenadaLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
GuadeloupeLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
GuamOCEANIA1
GuatemalaLATIN AMER. & CARIB5
GuernseyWESTERN EUROPE1
GuineaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA1
Guinea-BissauSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA1
GuyanaLATIN AMER. & CARIB4
HaitiLATIN AMER. & CARIB4
HondurasLATIN AMER. & CARIB5
Hong KongASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)1
HungaryEASTERN EUROPE1
IcelandWESTERN EUROPE1
IndiaASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)5
IndonesiaASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)1
IranASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)3
IraqNEAR EAST5
IrelandWESTERN EUROPE1
Isle of ManWESTERN EUROPE1
IsraelNEAR EAST1
ItalyWESTERN EUROPE1
JamaicaLATIN AMER. & CARIB2
JapanASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)1
JerseyWESTERN EUROPE1
JordanNEAR EAST1
KazakhstanC.W. OF IND. STATES1
KenyaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA4
KiribatiOCEANIA1
Korea, North ASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)1
Korea, South ASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)1
KuwaitNEAR EAST1
KyrgyzstanC.W. OF IND. STATES1
LaosASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)1
LatviaBALTICS1
LebanonNEAR EAST5
LesothoSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA2
LiberiaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA3
LibyaNORTHERN AFRICA5
LiechtensteinWESTERN EUROPE1
LithuaniaBALTICS1
LuxembourgWESTERN EUROPE1
MacauASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)1
MacedoniaEASTERN EUROPE1
MadagascarSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA3
MalawiSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA3
MalaysiaASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)5
MaldivesASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)1
MaliSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA4
MaltaWESTERN EUROPE1
Marshall IslandsOCEANIA1
MartiniqueLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
MauritaniaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA1
MauritiusSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA1
MayotteSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA1
MexicoLATIN AMER. & CARIB5
Micronesia, Fed. St. OCEANIA1
MoldovaC.W. OF IND. STATES1
MonacoWESTERN EUROPE1
MongoliaASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)1
MontserratLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
MoroccoNORTHERN AFRICA2
MozambiqueSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA4
N. Mariana IslandsOCEANIA1
NamibiaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA2
NauruOCEANIA1
NepalASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)4
NetherlandsWESTERN EUROPE1
Netherlands AntillesLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
New CaledoniaOCEANIA1
New ZealandOCEANIA1
NicaraguaLATIN AMER. & CARIB4
NigerSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA4
NigeriaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA5
NorwayWESTERN EUROPE1
OmanNEAR EAST2
PakistanASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)5
PalauOCEANIA1
Palestinian TerritoryMIDDLE EAST5
PanamaLATIN AMER. & CARIB2
Papua New GuineaOCEANIA1
ParaguayLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
PeruLATIN AMER. & CARIB3
PhilippinesASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)5
PolandEASTERN EUROPE1
PortugalWESTERN EUROPE1
Puerto RicoLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
QatarNEAR EAST1
ReunionSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA1
RomaniaEASTERN EUROPE1
RussiaC.W. OF IND. STATES3
RwandaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA2
Saint HelenaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA1
Saint Kitts & NevisLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
Saint LuciaLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
SamoaOCEANIA1
San MarinoWESTERN EUROPE1
Sao Tome & PrincipeSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA1
Saudi ArabiaNEAR EAST2
SenegalSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA2
SerbiaEASTERN EUROPE1
SeychellesSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA2
Sierra LeoneSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA2
SingaporeASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)2
SlovakiaEASTERN EUROPE1
SloveniaEASTERN EUROPE1
Solomon IslandsOCEANIA1
SomaliaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA5
South AfricaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA4
South SudanNEAR EAST5
SpainWESTERN EUROPE1
Sri LankaASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)1
St Pierre & MiquelonNORTHERN AMERICA1
SudanSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA5
SurinameLATIN AMER. & CARIB2
SwazilandSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA1
SwedenWESTERN EUROPE1
SwitzerlandWESTERN EUROPE1
SyriaNEAR EAST5
TaiwanASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)1
TajikistanC.W. OF IND. STATES1
TanzaniaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA2
ThailandASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)4
TogoSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA3
TongaOCEANIA1
Trinidad & TobagoLATIN AMER. & CARIB4
TunisiaNORTHERN AFRICA4
TurkeyNEAR EAST3
TurkmenistanC.W. OF IND. STATES1
Turks & Caicos IsLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
TuvaluOCEANIA1
UgandaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA2
UkraineC.W. OF IND. STATES2
United Arab EmiratesNEAR EAST1
United KingdomWESTERN EUROPE1
United StatesNORTHERN AMERICA1
UruguayLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
UzbekistanC.W. OF IND. STATES1
VanuatuOCEANIA1
VenezuelaLATIN AMER. & CARIB5
VietnamASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)1
Virgin IslandsLATIN AMER. & CARIB1
Wallis and FutunaOCEANIA1
West BankNEAR EAST5
Western SaharaNORTHERN AFRICA3
YemenNEAR EAST5
ZambiaSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA2
ZimbabweSUB-SAHARAN AFRICA3

Insignificant - 1

(No imminent threat of KRE. No or few reported cases of KRE within the past 2 years.)

Low - 2

(Low threat of KRE, although there have been a few reported cases within the last 2 years. KRE cases are isolated and do not pose a broad threat to the general population. There is growing concern, with close monitoring and reporting of KRE trending.)

Medium - 3

(Emerging Threat category. Several classic kidnappings have been recorded within the last year. This is closely monitored inasmuch as new KRE groups are beginning to organize. We note police/government involvement in KRE. The situation in these countries is not as serious as in the 4 and 5 levels countries, but, KRE events are being regularly detected. The population is concerned and communicate about this threat.)

High - 4

(The threat of KRE is high. The situation is approaching alarming levels and KRE events occur frequently (weekly or several times a week) and are an acknowledged concern for the government. A KRE travel advisory should be implemented – best methods security practices enforced.)

Very High - 5

(The threat of kidnapping is very high. Daily or nearly daily kidnappings are being recorded. These are the top risk countries in the world. A KRE travel warning with measured restrictions and best methods security practices enforced.)

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World-Kidnap-for-Ransom-2017-Kidnapping-Report
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