03 October 2003

Watch your back...

Watch your back...: "

Corporate kidnapping is a very real threat that companies face. David Honour explores the subject.

Corporate kidnapping hit the headlines in June with the abduction of sixty gas pipeline workers in a remote area of the Peruvian Andes. The kidnap gang demanded a $1m ransom from the workers' company, Techint.

The Peruvian case was unusual in that it involved a large number of victims. Much more common is the kidnap of individual company executives or members of their families. This can be for attempted financial gain though the demanding of a ransom or to bring political or social issues to the attention of a wider audience.

Companies have a duty-of-care to protect employees who may be working or travelling to areas where the kidnap risk is high. It also makes good business continuity sense. Too often business continuity planning seems to focus upon IT and communications systems and the availability of data. Human resource aspects of business continuity are often neglected; but people are mission critical business assets that need protecting.

There are many measures that firms can take to protect employees against the risk of kidnap. They can be summed up under the following broad headings:
Awareness and information, Security, Response and Insurance."

David suggests several resources to help you learn more about this. As a U.S. based company, we are a constituent member of OSAC - Overseas Security Advisory Council. We highly recommend their training, alerts and other briefings.

The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) was established in 1985 by the U.S. Department of State to foster the exchange of security related information between the U.S. Government and American private sector operating abroad. Administered by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, OSAC has developed into an enormously successful joint venture for effective security cooperation. Through OSAC, the American private sector, including colleges and universities, is provided timely information on which to make informed corporate decisions on how best to protect their investment, facilities, personnel and intellectual property abroad.

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