Reliable statistics about the number of Americans who are kidnapped abroad each year are difficult to acquire. Our government intentionally downplays all incidents of international kidnapping so as not to inadvertently create more enthusiasm for the crime.
In my book, I talk a lot about physical kidnappings, virtual kidnappings, and express kidnappings. If you want detailed advice, that is a good start.
Without discounting all the information in the book, tonight I realized we can dramatically simplify all the kidnapping advice ever written.
I’m leaving in a couple weeks to explore Turkey with a friend. I just purchased my travel insurance policy for the trip and was reading the fine print on the policy documents.
In the kidnapping section, the documents made the following declarations:
YOU ARE NOT COVERED IF:
1. Any kidnapping or express kidnapping first occurs in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, or any country for which we are prohibited from transaction due to sanctions by the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
It struck me that with the exception of the occasional Mexican drug cartel kidnapping, I seldom see any American citizens kidnapped any place other than the countries listed above.
That might be a clue. If kidnappings in those nations are so common that kidnapping insurance doesn’t apply there, maybe the best counter kidnapping advice might be to simply avoid traveling to those locations.