What is a kidnapping?

A kidnapping is when a person is taken away from a place against his free will. This might be done for ransom or to commit another crime. The word abduction is normally used to name something permanent. For example father abducting his child that is legally with his mother, and a person kidnapping a rich person for a ransom.

It exist two different types of kidnappings that differs from the classical one. Express kidnapping where a person is kidnapped for a few hours for a small ransom that it is possible to pay quickly; and Tiger kidnapping where a person is kidnapped to force others to give information or to do something distinct.

USA was in 2010 ranked sixth in the world in ransom kidnappings after Colombia, Italy, Lebanon, Peru and Philippines. In USA most kidnappings are abductions made by the family, and really not a kidnapping. Only 115 of 203,900 reported kidnappings in USA (2012) were REAL kidnappings for ransom. The Major kidnapping cities in the world are Mexico City, Mexico on first place with Phoenix, Arizona USA on second place.

In 1999 Colombia had the first place in kidnappings, but in 2006 we find a shift for Mexico (before was on second place). In 2005 it was 325 kidnappings in Mexico, but in 2009 the number has grown with 350% to 1.163 kidnappings. On top of this authorities estimates that it is 7.5 times more kidnappings that is never reported due to the tradition of not involving the Police. Giving us a stunning 8.723 kidnappings in 2009, and with an estimated annual growth of 87.5%; we get an unofficial amount of kidnappings in 2012 of 30.667 kidnappings. ¾ of the population are afraid of becoming kidnapped, and if kidnapped it is common to find that the family economy totally destroyed and severe psychological scars.

Who become kidnapped?

In western societies most kidnappings are white females forcefully taken directly from their home by a former important person in her life; x-boyfriend. Normally it is no weapons involved and nobody is injured physically. After the kidnapping the kidnapped are free. It is difficult to find statistics that is not biased.

In general, we see that REAL kidnappings are more normal in states with problems, conflict countries and areas infiltrated with crime. A kidnapping are a strong experience and is difficult to cope with; during and after. Never forget the following. It has a high value for the kidnappers to keep the kidnapped ALIVE; a dead kidnapped person does not pay; all risk and work for nothing! Do not forget that the chances to be kidnapped are very small and if kidnapped the chances of survival are rather high if you cooperate. In our network we got high ranked GEO SA levels that have been kidnapped and they have managed very well.

Who is the kidnapper?

The average kidnapper in Mexico is 31 years old, married with three children; 81% of the cases. Normally he has been employed about one month before the kidnapping. Most kidnappers are employed in a shop (or similar) or work as a type of driver. 75% does not have any criminal record from before. Shortly before and after the kidnapping we find an increase in criminal behavior among the kidnappers.

Who is the Abductor?

The criminal profiler is often seen as a tormented and sadistic person that might fool the outside world. Most likely this persons are from dysfunctional families meaning that they have been raised in a family that is not seen as healthy. Often they lack of empathy (can’t understand the feeling of the person they have abducted), narcissistic and psychopathic. Abductors often are abused, neglected and experienced violence including rape themself in childhood. Not all abductors are mentally sick, but they are NOT normal since their experience of powerlessness make them abuse others that are physically weaker than them. They search a position of being on the top, in control; the Alpha like person. Most know it is wrong what they do, but they justify it in some strange way.

Abductors tend to be white males between 30-40 years with problems in their relationships with women and often with problems with their desire control. He is often living in a type of social isolation. A profiler often starts with analyzing the victim to develop a sort of potential indicators of the abductors; what attracted him to this person. Standard questions are Who, Where, Whom associate the victim, Location, Circumstances, Risk factors like a professional risks for prostitutes. Often friends, relatives and associates of the victim knows things, revise the email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, cellphone and telephone. Also other abductions might give some clues. The motivation for the abductor is normally connected to domination, control and sexual desire. In most cases the abductor is guided by sexuality. Often we find the abductor to have some histories related to sexual assault and sexually inappropriate behavior with women. Since the abductor often feel inadequate, he feels better when he get an experience of power through abducting, controlling or assaulting sexually others. He wants to feel in charge. The feeling of doing what he wants to do is what he searches. This might be seen as strong narcissistic behavior indicators.

The victim for an abductor is what he desire. Often we might find that it is a woman just taken at random. This does not mean that it exist a relation/ connection between them, but the actual abduction often results from an impulse. Before the actual abduction we often find that the victim were followed and monitored for a period. In this phase they create an inner fantasy and act to fulfill it. The critical phase is the first hours after the abduction. The trail is hot and somebody still might remember something – some clues for the investigation.

When dealing with abduction you also need to remember that the abductor has a problem with logistics; the captured need food, toilet and more. The place needs to be soundproof and out of reach for others. The essence is to keep the person alive for months and perhaps years without anybody knowing about it. It is easy to understand that this is a difficult task. Here is one of the aspects of control and the satisfaction of control through threats and violence. Sometimes the abducted even start to suffer from the Stockholm syndrome. Often we find abducted persons live in a state of relative freedom.

Kidnappers operate in groups and abductor normally alone. Kidnappers are motivated by money, but an abductor is normally mentally instable and operates to stimulate some kind of internal necessity.

Let us look closer on the Kidnapper

Kidnappers operate normally in groups of 3-5 persons; 51% of the cases. It is common to find that the group has some type of family bounds; direct family or married into the family. They have normally some type of illegal projects going together from before and they work close in some way. It might be that the kidnapping is a type of spinoff when doing the other crime. Often it is found a connection between the kidnappers and the kidnapped. It might be familiar relations (uncle or cousins), friends (the child’s best friend or the sister of the wife’s best friend) or workers (servant, gardener or driver). A tip here is to make a list of all the people surrounding the life of the family: name, address, telephone numbers, work place and very important photo. If something happens the police have something to start working with; FAST! The initiation of a kidnapping is often improvised. Never forget that IMPROVISED. That means that the average kidnappers have a relatively poor plan and will make mistakes. Spot the mistakes! Between 2006 and 2010 it was arrested 2990 kidnappers in Mexico. They did all mistakes. In 2013 it were freed at two occasions almost 250 persons kidnapped at a farm in Mexico and the week before about 150 other kidnapped persons. This is professionals. They are difficult to spot, but with some planning and preparations they might be spotted.

The victim comes from all social levels. Normally we find the age of the victim to be between 16 and 30 years. 50% of the kidnapped is working or studying. The kidnapper sees the person as a type of ingress. Meaning that it normally exist money directly or indirectly connected to this person; and the kidnappers have discovered this link. If you find what the kidnapper wants, you might find the kidnapper. What made him know about that money or that income?

What happens?

Resume in Short:

  1. The kidnappers notifies about the kidnapping
  2. The Police are notified. They will start to give advices and collect information
  3. The kidnappers makes a demand of money or similar
  4. Then the negotiation starts. In Mexico the average demand is 9.7 million Mexican pesos and the average pay is 485.000 Mexican pesos; only 5% of the initial amount. In Speed kidnapping it is normally 5-10.000 Mexican pesos that is paid.
  5. The Police start to plan – and execute a rescue.

Resume in Long:

  1. You might be kidnapped anywhere; time and place is basically irrelevant. The place might be important for finding the kidnappers later.
  2. Stay focused and calm. The kidnapper is more stressed than you. Don’t push him to do mistakes.
  3. The best time to try to escape in the beginning. Before the kidnappers get control of all the aspects. Do not take risks!
  4. Yell, scream, run, kick and whatever… If it does not give the first minutes result STOP!!!
  5. 5. In the first minutes try to attract attention from others. This will give information about you and the kidnappers for the investigation. Kidnappers are more likely to accept screaming without punishing you in the beginning,
  6. When captured the kidnappers might do different things to you to keep you under control and manageable. Therefore do not resist and follow instructions to not be damaged.
  7. Stay calm and do not struggle! Focus on survival. Gather information about where you are and time; if possible voices, clothes, amount of persons, dialects, names and habits.  This is important information for later.
  8. You might be placed several places. First one and later another place. Think about distance and basic information gathering.
  9. Sometimes the kidnappers will interrogate you. Be cooperative. Do not antagonize your kidnapper.
  10. Never forget that keeping you alive are money for the kidnappers. You are the ticket to your ransom. Treat the kidnappers well and they will be nicer to you. If your family has asked for a sign of life, try to include some hidden information in the message. Who and where you are. Of course, hidden… You might use other names on your family members to give them a direction to the kidnappers.
  11. Try to collect information about where you are and who they are in a discrete manner. This is information that it is possible to use later. Occupy your mind with constructive thinking and do not worry yourself sick. It is most likely to go well in the end…
  12. Do not accept things that are not true. Answer short and do not give extra information. For example “Yes, my name is NN!” and “No, I do not like rainy days”, but do not say this: “My father is super rich and he has a house in Las Palmas! That is because we like warm weather.”
  13.  Speak normal with the kidnappers about trivial topics, and make rapport with them. Make them see you like a real person and not just a target. For example. Speak about your favorite football team or something in the news that day. If the kidnapper has children you got a super topic!
  14. Map the kidnapper’s topics and concerns. Do not mix yourself into details, but let him have his reasons and support him in that.
  15. Speak the language of the kidnapper.
  16. Never complain. Stay positive and helpful. Follow your orders and instructions. If fitting you might ask for smaller reasonable items like for example medicine and a book.
  17.  Keep yourself occupied physical and mentally when captured. Eat what is served and drink plenty of liquid. It does not matter the food is bad looking or you do not want to eat. It might be a long period until the next meal.
  18. If interrogated by the kidnappers are cooperative. If you do not cooperate you might be held longer or be punished. Give short answers in important topics, but speak freely about nonessential matters. Often one kidnapper plays “the Good Guy” and the other one “the Bad Guy” try to resist.
  19. Be aware of the “Stockholm Syndrome”.  It might happen when you are in a close proximity and under constant high pressures. Slowly you might begin to relate to and empathize with the kidnappers. Be friendly, but do not go further; or pretend to be a Stocholmer…
  20. If the kidnappers forces you to present demands. State that the demands are from your kidnappers. Remember to put useful information in what you speak to the Police. Do not plea on your own behalf.
  21. The process takes time. It might be days, weeks and even months before something is settled. Be patient. Your chances of survival increase with time.
  22. Most kidnappings end with no loss of life or physical injury. Remember that when the world is very dark.
  23. Only try to escape if you are 100% certain of success. If you escape go to an embassy (any will do) to seek protection. If no embassy is close contact a Police authority or an international company. If none of that present; seek up a foreigner; they tend to have more interest to help you.
  24. If a rescue is in process. Keep a low profile and follow all instructions given. A rescue will normally be attempted when negotiations have failed. Basic rules are as follows: Do not run. Lie down on the floor or stand still with your hands crossed on your chest and face down. No sudden moves! Wait for instructions. Confusion might happen, be patient with the rescuers. The rescuers do not know who you are. Be helpful, stand still and follow instructions.
  25. The best defense towards kidnappers is passive cooperation. When the time starts passing, the chance for a release increases.

Tip to the family

  1. Isolate
  2. Do not trust anybody
  3. Close your job; Make a name lists, Take photos and Collect contact information of all workers and their family; if possible. (Or make this information before any kidnapping)
  4. Make circles: People in the house, People at work, Friends, Other family members, Neighbors and so on. Search for clues after kidnappers.
  5. Estimate a plan for the kidnapping. Think about who might have given information or participated.
  6. Normally the kidnapper has shown some type of criminal behavior shortly before the kidnapping. Does it ring any bells?
  7. Try to track the cellphone
  8. Do not use Whatapp groups or Facebook profiles of the kidnapped. We don’t know who is listening.

How to prevent kidnappings?

Be prepared! Start to plan what you
will do if a kidnapping occurs. Plan a group of about three persons that will take important decisions related to the kidnapping. The negotiator has to be calm and fair. Persons that is negatively charged or that have the habit of threatening others will create problems. Train yourself to be easy going to avoid the future kidnapper to become impulsive and dangerous.

  1. Do not show people richness or money. That might tempt people to kidnap you.
  2. Prepare codes for known persons and geography. This gives secret information to the Police about the kidnapper when kidnapped.
  3. Do accounting about what you might offer and how much money you have. It might be difficult to do this when stressed and nervous.

How to escape a kidnapping?

Confidential. Under you will find some links to videos that treat this matter. Remember that this is a dangerous matter!

What are the dangers with a kidnapping?

You risk death, amputation of fingers and ears, general injuries and psychological scars. In most cases we find economic damages.


Interview with some kidnappers; observe and listen. They had a system they followed every time; a pattern. They took people, asked for money and killed they who recognized them. Just business, nothing personal. When you listen to them you will understand that this is people that more or less know each other from the area where they lived. Most of them have some connection to a criminal past.

Here is a video of a captured kidnapper

Here is a video of a rescue operation

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