Kidnap and Ransom

News, information and statistics about kidnap for ransom activities. Data about the security threat is collected from intelligence reports, security companies, kidnap for ransom insurance brokers, hostage negotiators and other public information.

According to the National Commission on Human Rights in Mexico, kidnappers who hold migrants for ransom in the country earn up to $25 Million in a 6 month time period based upon the average ransom paid. The Commission estimates that up to 10,000 migrants are kidnapped and held for ransom in a 6 month period, with the ransom demand being between $1,500 to $5,000 on average.

Source: Sibylla Brodzinsky, “Migrant Kidnappings in Mexico ‘Systemic’,” Insight Crime, May 11, 2012.

The Security Association of the Maritime Industry (Sami) reported to the BBC that there were over 200 companies providing security services in the north-west region of the Indian Ocean.  139 companies are members of the association, with almost half of the members being companies based in the United Kingdom.

The companies provide a range of services, from ransom negotiation to armed guards to prevent kidnappings. An armed guard working in a group of three can make up to $634 (500 British Pounds) in a 5-day tour.

As of March 2012, there were over 100 sailors being held for ransom by pirates off the coast of Somalia.

Source:  Peter Jackson, “The UK firms who tackle Somali pirates,” BBC News, March 24, 2012.

Police in the Pakistani city of Karachi report the Taliban is generating revenue from kidnap and ransom activities, extortion and bank robberies.

In 2011, there were over 100 cases of kidnap for ransom cases in the city, an all time high.

Local criminals who kidnap for ransom generally hold their hostage for up to six weeks until some sort of payment or settlement is made. Hostages held by the Taliban are generally held between 6 months to 1 year and demand payment in foreign currency.

Source:  “Taliban’s brisk trade of kidnapping in Karachi,” BBC News, March 23, 2012.


Between January 1 to March 20, 2012, there have been as many as 400 reported cases of kidnapping across the Pakistani city of Lahore.

In 2011, there were around 2,954 cases of kidnappings reported in the city. In 2010, up to 2,831 people were kidnapped.

According to city residents, the most effective way to retrieve kidnapped family members is to pay the ransom.

Source:  Imran Chaudhry, “Kidnappings on the rise in city,” Daily Times, March 23, 2012.

Between 2005 and 2012, the number of kidnappings for ransom cases in Mexico increased by over 300 percent. Over one-fifth of the kidnapping cases in Mexico involves police or military soldiers, according to a congressional report published in the country in 2011.

In 14 states in Mexico, less than one percent of crimes committing in 2010 had a chance of going to trail and ending with a sentencing.

Source:  Damien Cave, “In Mexico, a Kidnapping Ignored as Crime Worsens,” New York Times, March 17, 2012.

According to the Defence Ministry, in 2011 there were 298 reported hostages who were kidnapped and held for ransom in Columbia.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was responsible for 77 of the 298 hostages in the country.

Source:  “Deliverance? A pledge to end kidnapping,” Economist, March 3, 2012.

Pirates in Somalia earned around $170 Million in ransom payments in 2011, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. In 2010, the pirates made $110 Million.

The UNODC reported that 1,116 Somali men face criminal trials in 20 countries for piracy.

Source:  “Ransom money laundered by pirates affects stability in the Horn of Africa, says UNODC chief,” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, February 22, 2012.

The Interior Ministry of Pakistan reported that there were 474 cases of kidnapping for ransom in 2010, and 467 kidnapping for ransom cases in 2011.

The average ransom demand is between $500,000 to $2.2. Million, although the amount paid out to the kidnappers is usually negociated down to one-tenth that amount.

Source:  Declan Walsh, “Taliban Gaining More Resources From Kidnapping,” New York Times, February 19, 2012.

Between March 2011 and February 2012, the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry reported that 85 members were killed or kidnapped for ransom. The number was higher than the 65 reported in the previous year.

Source:  Mina Habib, “Afghanistan Investors Scared By Kidnapping Wave,” Euraisa Review, February 19, 2012.

Between 1992 and 2010, militant organization Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines earned an estimated $33 Million (1.4 Billion Pesos) from kidnapping foreigners and holding then for ransom.

(More kidnapping for ransom intelligence.)

Source:  Joel D Adriano, “To be abducted in the Philippines,” Asia Times, February 10, 2012.