Kidnapping is a real threat to people worldwide, especially personnel or anybody perceived as wielding significant power or wealth. Here are some tips to avoid being kidnapped and some actions to take if you are kidnapped. Always check on the potential for kidnapping before leaving home. Conduct due diligence review of counterparts before conducting travel. Verify the identity of contacts and associations before conducting travel or meeting in person. Arrange for airport pick-up ahead of time, with verification methods of identity agreed upon ahead of time.
In a Car
Be aware of your surroundings if traveling by vehicle.
- Check in and around your car before entering to ensure that no one is hiding inside or nearby.
- Keep car doors locked and windows up at all times.
- If suspicious people approach you when you are stopped at, or approaching, a red light, run the light if the situation appears dangerous.
- Do not pick up hitchhikers.
- If you see an accident or a stranded motorist, report it from the nearest telephone instead of stopping. Try not to stop or become involved.
- When you drive someone to their home or hotel, ensure they are safely inside before driving away, and make them do the same for you.
- If possible, park only in well-lit, heavily-traveled areas.
- Try not to park next to vans or trucks, as you can be easily pulled inside.
- Check your surroundings before getting out of your car.
On the Street
If walking to your destination, use these tips to avoid kidnapping.
- Tell a trusted person where you will be, who you will be with, and when you expect to return.
- If you sense someone is following you when you get off a bus or train, walk toward a well-populated area.
- Do not wear headphones or read while walking or standing on the street.
- When on the street, walk facing oncoming traffic. It will be harder for someone in a vehicle to abduct you.
- Do not hitchhike.
- Try to maintain a low profile.
- Modify your fashion style, toning-down colors and accessories.
- Wear comfortable clothing; women should avoid wearing high heels, which are difficult to run in if attempting to escape.
- Avoid wearing clothing with long straps such as scarves, necklaces, and purses.
- Try to not overload yourself with packages.
- Stay off the street alone if you are upset or under the influence of medications or alcohol.
- Avoid using outside ATMs at night or in unfamiliar surroundings.
- Avoid isolated or poorly lit restrooms, and be extra careful in stairwells.
- Do not get in an elevator with someone who makes you uncomfortable. In an elevator, stand near the controls, and locate the emergency button.
If You Are Kidnapped
The initial phase of a kidnapping provides the best opportunities to escape.
- If you are in a public area at the time of an abduction attempt, make as much commotion as possible to draw attention to your situation.
- If the abduction attempt takes place in your hotel room, make noise, attempt to arouse the suspicion or concern of hotel employees or of those in neighboring rooms.
- Know that the fact that your abduction has taken place will be brought to the attention of authorities and the process of notification and search will begin, although it might be hours or days before your absence is reported.
- Follow your captors' instructions.
- If forced into a trunk or specially built transport container, control your breathing.
- If drugs are administered, do not resist; their purpose is usually only to make you more manageable and may, in fact, help you control your emotions.
- Do not struggle in a confined space.
- Do not antagonize your captors.
If possible, remember every sensory detail you can. Use the following to aid you in case of a situation.
- Visualize the route taken; take note of turns and street noises.
- Keep track of the amount of time spent between transport points.
- Note the details of rooms and the sounds of activity in buildings.
- Study the layout of the building and its surroundings.
- Listen for nearby sounds and distinguishable smells.
Take Care of Yourself
Stay in the best shape possible for chance of escaping a captor(s).
- Stay mentally active by memorizing and recalling details.
- Stay physically active. Use isometric and flexing exercises.
- Eat and drink what is given to you.
- Maintain your hygiene as best as possible.
- Keep track of time. Devise a way to track the day, date and the time.
- If you are being held with other hostages, devise ways to communicate.
With Your Captors
It's important to track behavior of your captors and keep yourself as healthy as possible.
- Get to know your captors. Learn their schedules, and identify their habits, strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, likes and dislikes.
- Remain cooperative. Attempt to establish rapport with your captors or guards.
- When communication is permitted, ask for items that will increase your comfort.
- Make your captors aware of your needs.
WorldAware provides intelligence-driven, integrated risk management solutions that enable multinational organizations to operate globally with confidence. WorldAware’s end-to-end tailored solutions, integrated world-class threat intelligence, innovative technology, and response services help organizations mitigate risk and protect their people, assets, and reputations. For more information, visit worldaware.com.