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.

A study funded by the US Agency for International Development found that 50,000 people were kidnapped in Mexico in 2008 alone.

Between 2007 and 2010, the Mexican government initiated 1,880 kidnapping investigations. Of the total number of cases, the police actively pursued 23 percent of the cases.

Source: Elizabeth Dickinson, “Foreign Policy: Missing In Mexico,” NPR, July 7, 2011.

The United Nations estimates that $110 Million was paid out in kidnap and ransom payments to pirates in Somalia in 2010.

Source: “Somalia releases 6 foreigners convicted of smuggling pirates’ ransom,” Global Post, June 27, 2011.

1,264 hostages were kidnapped and held for ransom in Pakistan in 2008, according to the US National Counterterrorism Center.

In 2009, the number of hostages kidnapped increased to 3,366.

Source: Associated Press, “Turn To Abductions Shows Al-Qaida’s Cash Squeeze,” NPR News, June 19, 2011.

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In 2008, there were 584 people who were kidnapped in Afghanistan and held hostage for ransom, according to the US National Counterterrorism Center.

In 2009, the number of hostages held for ransom increased to 2,088.

Source: Associated Press, “Turn To Abductions Shows Al-Qaida’s Cash Squeeze,” NPR News, June 19, 2011.

Kidnapping for ransom by the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, an Algerian based off-shoot of Al-Qaeda, generated $80 Million between 2008 and 2011, according to a military official.

Some ransoms for kidnapped hostages were reported to be as high as $2 million.

Source: Associated Press, “Turn To Abductions Shows Al-Qaida’s Cash Squeeze,” NPR News, June 19, 2011.

According to an organized crime expert at Mexico’s Autonomous Technological Institute, only half of the drug cartels revenue in 2011 is coming from the illegal drug trade. The other half in revenue is generated from black market activities such as kidnapping for ransom, extortion, human smuggling, and counterfeiting.

Source: Lauren Villagren, “Mexico’s crime groups grabbing lucrative market for pirated goods,” Bellingham Herald, May 22, 2011.

Piracy off the coast of Africa and in the Indian oceans creates $2.4 Billion in additional costs to shipping companies. The costs are due to increase in kidnap and ransom insurance and additional security costs.

Source: Michelle Wiese Bockmann, “Shipowners Turn to AK-47s to Halt $2.4 Billion of Piracy Off Africa, India,” Bloomberg, May 17, 2011.

Over a career in piracy, a Somali Pirate can earn between $168,000 to $394,000.

Source: Adam Martin, “Somali Piracy Is the Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living,” Atlantic Wire, May 10, 2011.

Between 2005 and 2009, there was a 97 percent increase in the number of reported kidnappings in Ireland.

In 2005, there were 74 kidnapping cases. In 2009, officials reported that there were 146 cases of kidnapping in the country.

Law enforcement officials believe that a large portion of the increase was due to human trafficking cases. There were 7 cases reported in 2008, with an increase to 49 human trafficking cases in 2009.

Source: Carl O’Brien, “Kidnapping rise driven by human trafficking,” Irish Times, April 30, 2011.

In 2005, the average ransom payments from piracy was $125,000. By 2010, the average ransom payment increased to $5.4 Million.

In total, $238 Million was paid out in ransom payments due to shipping piracy in 2010. Including insurance costs, security costs and other transportation issues, the total losses due to piracy was $12 Billion.

Source: Viola Gienger, “Piracy Syndicates Selling Shares to Finance Attacks, U.S. Navy Chief Says,” Bloomberg, April 21, 2011.