Kidnap: Inside the Ransom Business

Millions of people work, live, and travel in high-risk countries; very few are kidnapped and, of those that are, almost all come home safely – how can this be?

Anja Shortland examines the development of the ransom business. Abducting people is relatively easy but how much is your hostage worth; how do you negotiate a significant ransom; and, most of all, how do you conclude the deal without being caught? How then has a powerful private governance system been created by Lloyd’s special risk insurers that takes control in transnational hostage situations to safely and cheaply retrieve kidnap victims?

Kidnap is not the violent, chaotic, and ungovernable crime that it might appear. If fact, it has effectively evolved into a business.

Anja has used extensive interviews with those who deal with kidnapping worldwide – insurers, security consultants, victims’ employers and families, and professional negotiators on both sides – plus a full transcript of a pirate ransom negotiation, to reveal the development and workings of a hidden market.

Orit Gal, a complexity economist who has also researched the kidnapping phenonema, will open the discussion followed by an open Q&A. This will be followed by a networking reception with wine and snacks.

Anja Shortland

Dr Anja Shortland (Meng Oxon, MSc and PhD LSE) is Reader in Political Economy at King’s College London. Her main research area is the economics of crime and she has …

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Orit Gal

Orit is currently a Senior Lecturer for Strategy and Complexity at Regent’s University London, and Founder at Urbaniser app. Orit is a political economist with a deep curiosity for the …

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