Thursday, April 11, 2019

Inside the ransom business


A kidnapper’s phone call announcing that a family member or employee has been abducted is the stuff of nightmares – as is the eye-watering ransom demand that often accompanies this news. How should you respond?

Most kidnappings take place in countries where governments are weak and territory is disputed. Without a police force able to help, you will need to negotiate to get your loved one back. So, what is the “right” price for their life?

When I ask my students this question, their answers range from “I would never pay a criminal or terrorist” to “I’d pay whatever they’re asking for” or “everything I could possibly spare”.

...Some describe this process as wringing the towel dry: kidnappers squeeze and squeeze until the victim’s representatives stick to their answer, “there is no more”. If those paying the ransom permit the kidnappers to literally squeeze them dry, they will pay all they can afford. But knowing that they will have to endure all the painful squeezes (replete with horrendous threats) anyway, they can also set a lower limit and hide some resources from the criminals. If they stick to their guns, they often achieve a release for a small fraction of the first ransom demand.


Read more [HERE].

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