The multibillion-dollar business of ransom

A startling 60 percent to 70 percent of overseas kidnapping goes unreported.

There is a multibillion-dollar industry predicated on fear, risk and hope: The business of kidnapping, ransom and extortion (KRE) is mainly publicized from the point of view of the hostage-takers or victims, but rarely do we get a glimpse into the companies responsible for rescuing, insuring and training people who find themselves in dangerous situations around the world.

The number of kidnappings has been increasing, up 30 percent in Africa from 2013 to 2014 and rising in the Middle East. Although about 60 percent to 70 percent of overseas kidnapping of U.S. citizens goes unreported, according to the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the U.S. State Department, last year alone more than two dozen Americans working for companies had been kidnapped in terrorism-related incidents.


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