KIDNAPPING: The Multi-Billion-Dollar Enterprise of Extortion

While there are in excess of 20,000 kidnappings annually, your chances of being abducted are relatively remote.  From Mexico and Colombia, to Iraq and Afghanistan, to the Philippines, kidnappings for ransom are a multi-billion-dollar enterprise. The motivations for kidnappings vary widely, but essentially fall into two categories: Abductions for a ‘cash’ ransom, and extremist kidnappings for the purposes of advancing the interests of a criminal or terrorist entity. Less common are kidnappings during the undertaking of a crime (to trade for escape), or custodial kidnappings during which one parent kidnaps their own children in a custody dispute. Abductions are, by their very nature, extremely dangerous and unpredictable. The assailants are commonly untrained and often more frightened than their potential victims. The unpredictability that ensues can result in the eruption of violence with very little notice. The risks are exceptionally high, especially at the point of abduction and equally at the moment of rescue.  


Extremists, terrorists and other zealots are far less predictable and thus far more dangerous. They tend to target potential victims based on nationality, ethnicity, religion and sometimes organizational affiliation. In the latter case, extremists have specifically targeted people working for religiously affiliated NGOs or even employees of foreign-based companies who may be supporting a regime hostile to the extremists’ interests. Given that terrorists wish to sensationalize the incidents in which they are involved, the likelihood of a terrorist-related kidnapping escalating into violence is high. Comporting yourself in a fashion that does not inadvertently bring you to the attention of terrorists can save your life and that of your friends and family. Whether it be low key or high profile, INKAS® vehicles, equipment and training ensures that you will be exponentially safer. 

Criminal Kidnap for Ransom:

High net worth individuals and their families are routinely targeted for abduction. Contrary to popular belief, the profit margin for criminal kidnappings rests in volume rather than a single multi-million-dollar payday. This business model of successive, fast turnaround abductions targeting the upper middle class has proven to be a highly profitable business. 

Most victims are targets of opportunity. People with access to wealth and other means, who are simultaneously vulnerable to exploitation. Hardening potential targets against kidnap through the provision of equipment, precautions, security measures, awareness and training has proven to be an effective way to avoid criminal targeting. Post criminal action analysis has shown that those who have taken even modest measures to avoid routine targeting will be notably safer. 

“Express Kidnapping”:

Also referred to as ATM kidnappings, occur when a victim is forced to withdraw money from his or her bank or credit card. Unfortunately routine in Latin America, express kidnapping has become far more common in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. 

In terms of volume, ATM kidnappings far exceed traditional abductions. Criminals have created a repeatable business model that has proven to be exceptionally profitable. Statistics have shown that while the threat of serious injury and death is lower during an express kidnapping, survivors are often viciously assaulted to ensure rapid cooperation and accession to the demands of the attackers.   

Vulnerability During Travel:

Potential victims are most vulnerable during travel within a hostile, often foreign, environment. Abductors follow their targets and seek to exploit vulnerabilities in their daily routines. Victims are selected when they have settled into a predictable pattern of daily activity. After Action Reports (AAR) following kidnappings in parts of the developing world revealed that criminals have surveilled and studied their targets at length and have chosen opportunities with the lowest likelihood of being identified and interdicted by local authorities. They are on their home turf and a distinct advantage. 

INKAS® is at your side to even the odds.

INKAS® Group of Companies

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