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Kidnapping for Ransom: A View from the White House

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The US Government has clarified its policies on navigating the world of kidnap for ransom. While the US position has always been to not provide concessions to a kidnapper, this may be against the desires of the family to pay a ransom and can reduce the chances of getting the victim returned safely.

In addition, there have been reports that a family can face prosecution if there is a payment or other material support provided to a hostage taker who belongs to a terrorist organization. This has created significant confusion as to how these cases should be addressed.

The new executive order is the result of a 6 month review of kidnapping cases by the White House. It attempts to clarify the US position on kidnapping cases and is intended to demonstrate that the US government will no longer threaten families of American hostages kidnapped overseas with criminal prosecution if they attempt to pay ransoms for their relatives to groups like Islamic State or Al Qaeda.

While the US government will keep a no concessions policy, specially trained government agents may be able to assist with communications and negotiations with the captors.

Kidnappings for ransom, express kidnappings and virtual kidnappings have become an increased concern in certain parts of the world.

The HUB International Risks Services expert team is prepared to address these issues with you and your family, discussing risk mitigation measures such as insurance and protective actions that reduce potential travel threats and/or security issues. Contact a HUB Risk expert to conduct a risk assessment and develop a customized plan.