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Kidnap for Ransom: The Trickiest Trade in the World

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? 

Abducting people is relatively easy but once taken the abductors must work out how much is their hostage worth; how to negotiate a significant ransom; and, most of all, how to conclude the deal without being caught.

Kidnap is not the violent, chaotic, and ungovernable crime that it might appear. Special risk insurers Lloyd’s have developed a powerful private governance system that takes control in transnational hostage situations to safely and cheaply retrieve kidnap victims. 

Dr Anja Shortland, Reader in Political Economy at King's, offers an economic analysis of the ransom business in her new book Kidnap: Inside the Ransom Business.

Hear more about her research in our podcast with Dr Shortland.