The International “Hostage Business”

By Francisco Mateo

             “Kidnappings in Mexico have fallen from 1.1 per 100,000 people in 1997 to 0.8 in 2008 — though the number may be increasing again.”  Eurasia Group

The masters of the dark arts have perfected their heartless, dirty craft in Mexico today.  According to experts, Mexico has been invaded by as many gangs of professional kidnappers as the many types of kidnapping they have brought with them or created; a true testament for men’s capacity for evil. As inhumane as it may sound, people are assigned a flexible dollar target number depending on their social-economic status. The following Dateline special “The Desperate Hours” details the story of a family’s ordeal being targeted in rural San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Learn More Here: “The Desperate Hours”

Kidnapping as we all know are not just a Mexican problem today. Statistics show that  Sub-Saharan and West Africa, including Nigeria, as well as Haiti, Pakistan, Venezuela, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq are also top kidnapping hotspots. How do you stay safe in light of the growing sophistication of these economic terrorist groups of kidnappers?  Remember that the name of the game is situation awareness, just keep in mind that in Mexico even kidnapping experts have their best efforts thwarted; therefore your defense posture needs to be sound.  Have a well thought out plan, abandon fear as a tactic as it would only lead you astray; instead be informed, seek advice from local experts and implement countermeasures according the prevailing kidnapping modus operandi. 

 I’ll leave you with these few bullet points in summary:

  • Kidnappers always look for target of opportunity. 
  • Simple things like changing your routines;
  • Keeping a low profile
  • Having a plan when you detect you’re being followed
  • Keeping in contact a trusted person or family on speed dial on your cell phone; can really go a long way to keep you save. 
  • Criminals thrive on fear, so show confidence and resolve that you would not be made a victim 
  • Above all be reasonable about your actions and decisions and you would move beyond fear

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