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.

As of November 2011, there were an estimated 8,000 members of the guerrilla group FARC in Colombia, down from the high of 17,000.

The group earns revenue through black market activities such as drug trafficking and kidnapping for ransom.

Source: Sarah Maslin Nir and Simon Romero, “Leader of FARC Guerrilla Movement Is Killed in Combat, Colombian Officials Say,” New York Times, November 5, 2011.

According to the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Center, there has been 352 pirate attacks around the world in the first 9 months of 2011. The number of attacks is a record.

625 people have been taken hostages, with 8 people killed during the attacks and 41 people injured.

Pirate attacks by Somalis accounted for 199 of the total attacks, an increase of 58 percent from the previous year.

(More kidnap and ransom statistics.)

Source: Associated Press, “UN council calls for criminalization of piracy,” Google News, October 24, 2011.

According to the United Nations, 4,185 people were attached by pirates in the oceans in 2010. The pirates held 1,090 people as hostages for their kidnapping and ransom activities, and 516 people were held and used as human shields.

Source: Kunal Dutta, ” Kidnap couple call for intervention to stop Somali pirates,” Independent, October 23, 2011.


The Sunday Herald Sun in Australia reported that up to 23,000 Australian purchased kidnap and ransom policies within the country. The covered people paid the insurance companies over $$12.45 Million (12 Million Australian) in premiums.

Source: Alex White, “Kidnap insurance cover for foreign hot spots,” Herald Sun, September 18, 2011.

Between January and August of 2011, at least 38 oil field workers have been kidnapped in Colombia as the country increases its oil production.

Workers from around the world have been victims of kidnapping in Colombia. Reported kidnapping invovled workers from Colombian controlled company Ecopetrol, United States company Occidental Petroleum, and China based Emerald Energy.

Source: Chris Kraul, “Colombia sees surge in violent crime against oil workers,” Los Angeles Times, August 24, 2011.

Between 2006 and 2011, the number of kidnappings in Mexico increased by 317 percent, according to the criminal justice industry in the country.

An average of 3.72 kidnap for ransom cases were reported every day in Mexico in 2011.

The average age of the kidnapper was 31, and 22 percent of the kidnappers have previously worked in the armed forces or police.

Source: Ronan Graham, “Report: Kidnappings Increased Over 300% in Mexico,” InSight, August 8, 2011.

In 2010, the criminal justice system in Colombia handled 282 cases of kidnapping. In the first half of 2011, there was an increase of 30 percent in the number of kidnapping within the country.

Back in the year 2000, there were over 3,500 kidnapping cases reported in Colombia.

Source: Jeremy McDermott, “Kidnapping on the Rise in Colombia; Rebels Target Oil Workers,” Insight, August 5, 2011.

Between April and June of 2011, six to seven Iraqis were kidnapped each month. The average ransom paid to the kidnappers was $50,000.

In  Kirkuk Province, there were over 60 reported cases of kidnapping for ransom in 2010. In 2011, 30 cases have been reported in the first 5 months of the year.

Source:  AFP, “Blind date to blindfold: the kidnap business in Iraq,” Google News, August 5, 2011.

At the end of 2010, an estimated $1.5 Billion (1 Billion British Pounds) was estimated to have been paid out in ransom to kidnappers around the world.

The estimated market value of kidnapping was higher than the $500 Million previously reported.

Source: Esme McAvoy and David Randall, “The £1 billion hostage trade,” Independent, October 17, 2010.

An estimated 60,000 children are kidnapped and go missing each year in India. Less than one-third of the missing children are ever found.

In the capital New Delhi, there were 1,233 kidnapping for ransom cases in 2008. In 2010, there were 2,975 cases of kidnapping for ransom.

In the first three months of 2011, 802 cases were reported in New Delhi.

Source: Gethin Chamberlain, “One family’s anguish amid India’s child abduction epidemic,” National, July 8, 2011.