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.

In 2011, the average ransom paid out to pirates holding hostages off the coast of Somalia increased 25 percent to $5 Million.

Pirate activities cost shipping companies and governments up to $6.9 Billion in costs in 2011, according to a report by One Earth Future Foundation.

Source:  Michelle Wiese Bockmann, “Somali Pirates Cost $6.9B as Attacks Reach Record,” Bloomberg, February 8, 2012.

Between July 2011 and January 2012, at least 7 foreigners have been kidnapped while in Pakistan, according to a tally by the Associated Press. 4 kidnappings of foreigners occurred in January 2012 alone.

Source:  Associated Press, “Kidnappings of foreigners throw spotlight on dangers in Pakistan, hampering aid efforts,” Washington Post, January 25, 2012.


There were 439 reported attacks of piracy at sea in 2011, down from the 445 cases reported in 2010.

A total of 802 crew members were held hostage and 45 vessels were hijacked in 2011. The figures from 2011 were lower than the 1,181 hostages and 53 vessels hijacked in 2010.

Pirates from Somali accounted for 237 attacks, or 54 percent of all pirate attacks in 2011.

Source: Associated Press, “World sea piracy drops in 2011 for the first time in five years, attacks in Somali intensify,” Washington Post, January 18, 2012.


The National Police in the Philippines reported 10 kidnap for ransom cases within the country in 2011, a drop of over 50 percent from the 21 kidnap for ransom cases in 2010.

Source:  Aaron Recuenco, “Kidnap for ransom cases drop 50%,” Manilla Bulletin, January 11, 2012.

There were 33,860 kidnappings reported in India in 2009, according to the National Crime Records Bureau, an increase of 11.9 percent from 2008, when there were a reported 30,261 kidnappings.

In the city of Delhi, there were 2,975 reported kidnappings in 2010, up from 1,233 cases in 2008.

Source: Nilma Pathak, “Kidnappers target country’s new rich,” gulf news, December 26, 2011.

Between 2006 and 2011, kidnapping for ransom by pirates lead to 748 Filipinos being held hostage from 61 different ships.

One-third of all seafarers in the world are from the Philippines.

Source: Kate McGeown, “Somali piracy takes heavy toll on Philippine sailors,” BBC News, December 18, 2011.

Criminal groups trick migrants into various revenue generating black market activities in Eritrea, according to news reports.

Migrants in the country first pay human smugglers $2, 500 to be smuggled into Israel or Western countries. Once at the first stop in Sudan, the migrants become victims of kidnapping and ransom as they are told to pay thousands of dollars in ransom to be released. If the migrants are unable to pay the ransom, they become victims of organ trafficking as their kidneys are taken and sold on the black market.

(Cost of Organ Transplant on the black market.)

Source: Ricci Shryock, “Eritreans Call for End to Human Trafficking of Migrants,” Voice of America, December 12, 2011.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, is credited with kidnapping over 50 Europeans and Canadians and holding them for ransom between 2003 and 2011. The kidnappings for ransom is estimated to have generated the group around $130 Million.
Source: “Gunmen kidnap South African tourist in Timbuktu,” Daily News, Independent Online, November 29, 2011.

In 2011, there were 50 cases of kidnappings reported in El Salvador, according to law enforcement officials. Of these cases, 20 were identified as kidnappings with the remaining cases classified as extortion attempts involving ransom.

In 2010, there were 45 cases of kidnapping, with 14 cases where the victim was murdered.

Source: Jeanna Cullinan, “Kidnappings Down 50% in El Salvador,” InSight, November 28, 2011.

According to the National Statistics Institute, there were an estimated 17,000 kidnappings in Venezuela between July 2008 and July 2009. A majority of the kidnap and ransom cases appeared to be “express kidnappings,” where a person is held hostage for a day and released with a ransom payment quickly.

Source: Michael S. Schmidt and Simon Romero, “In Nation Plagued by Abductions, Search Is On,” New York Times, November 10, 2011.