If you are working protective details and/or risk management for executives in Mexico, humanitarian workers in Nigeria, or missionaries in the Philippines....kidnap & ransom familiarization could be a life-saver.
Years ago, 2009, I was approached by a client who asked if I could assist in resolving a kidnapping of one of their family members in Mexico. I put together a target folder, gathered all relevant information, interviewed witnesses, tracked vehicles (until their GPS trackers were dismantled), obtained surveillance pictures of the alleged perpetrators utilizing the victim's ATM card, tracked mobile phones and all other relevant investigative tasks you would expect for this type of case. I had an investigative background but no real education on actual kidnap resolution in Mexico, this would come later.
I did what I could on that case and started to educate myself on the subject of kidnap & ransom in Mexico. I initially had a shortlist of items I wanted to understand better to support my clients, particularly in Mexico, and began to study the problem.
- Who was getting kidnapped...Their profiles, Their financial status?
- Why were specific victims targeted?
- What methods were used to conduct surveillance?
- What common methods were being used to conduct the actual kidnap?
- Were kidnapping crews going only after victims without obvious security?
- Did methods of kidnap & surveillance change in different regions of Mexico?
- How had victims escaped?
- What was the common ransom amount asked?
- What was the common ransom amount paid?
- How long were victims held and did this fluctuate based on ransom amount asked?
Around that time, I ran into an icon in the Kidnap & Ransom industry, particularly in Latin America. We became friends and I was able to tap into the his world and started to consider things I should have been asking all along. I began to look at the kidnap industry a but differently.
- How did the insurance companies play into this industry
- What types of coverage was there
- Were Mexican citizens getting K & R insurance? Or mainly just foreigners working in Mexico?
- When, if ever, did Law Enforcement get involved?
- How did the negotiations actually work and who is really negotiating?
- What happened if the family could not pay the asked amount?
- What determines if they deliver the victim after ransom is paid?
I had a lot of questions that I needed answered mainly because I wanted to put together an action plan not only in kidnap avoidance but also a plan for an active kidnap & ransom situation in progress.
I began to get involved with other professional K & R consultants, mainly conducting surveillance and surveillance detection on actual cases, and I brought some of the professional K & R consultants onto the SECFOR team in order to respond to any of my clients' families or work associates' kidnap situations.
After a few years of working with together with a team, I became more familiar with the the entire process starting from pre-incident preparation all the way to the recovery and post-incident procedures.
Around 2014 I began teaching courses about Kidnap & Ransom Case management and negotiation techniques. Bartering for human life was vastly different from Law Enforcement hostage negotiation, especially when you yourself will most likely NOT be the one negotiating.
At this time I broke everything down that I had learned into a 6 phase system to help others understand the realities of this industry.
- The Call
- On the Ground
- The Negotiation
- The Transaction
Each of these phases are broken down into multiple subcategories that continue to expand after working more cases up to present day.
This course is designed to give anyone working or sending employees to kidnap and ransom prone areas. The course will provide an understanding of the realities of K&R case management, and a base in which to put Standard Operating Procedures in place for your staff, and clients that work in high risk regions.
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