Approximately 40,000 kidnappings occur every year and over 40% of these are of business personnel or their dependants. Regions with the highest risk such as Mexico, Libya and Bangladesh are well known and employers may have been aware of these risks for some time. However, kidnappings can occur in any region and it’s important that employers consider the risks wherever they send their staff.
Research suggests areas of high risk areas are growing and becoming more dangerous. Business travel to these regions is also rising. Result Group, the risk and crisis management consultancy, reports a significant deterioration of the safety situation across Africa in the last four years – an attractive continent for business due to its rapid economic growth.
Kidnap and ransom, while most common in high-risk regions is not exclusive to them, it can happen anywhere. Research from ABTA shows that safety is employers’ number one concern for staff who travel abroad for work.
Sarah Dennis, head of international for The Health Insurance Group said: “Sadly, we have to recognise that the risk of kidnap and ransom is increasing and it isn’t just limited to high-risk areas. The good news is, there are specific kidnap and ransom policies that have been designed to specifically protect companies with staff working abroad. A kidnap and ransom policy should be an integral part of the provisions that employers make to meet their duty of care for overseas and travelling staff – wherever they’re working.”