Sources on kidnapping groups, places people are kidnapped and the impact on victims

While kidnapping has taken place for centuries, there is limited information on the number of incidents occurring and some reports on kidnapping trends can be inaccurate. Kidnap incidents that are reported tend to be resolved in private, so details of the case are not released into the public realm. In regions of corrupt law enforcement, kidnapping may be unreported or exaggerated.

As a result, there is no definitive set of data on kidnapping, though there are governments and business risk organisations which have robust monitoring capabilities and data sets. Usually, they do not release their datasets, but some publish annual reports on kidnapping trends based on the incidents that are reported.

Thinktanks, journalists and academics occasionally publish opinion papers or articles on the strategy of kidnappers and on kidnap resolution. Again, look for evidence-based material.

Hostage International does not offer any endorsements of particular organisations or authors, but important sources to consider in your own research include government travel advice for their nationals, country briefings by news organisations and kidnapping trend reports by reputable business risk organisations.

There is also a shortage of reports and research on the impact kidnapping has on hostages and their families. Many victims will decline research requests or media interviews because they do not want to relive their ordeal. However, some choose to write and publish a memoir of their experience. Many of these are insightful and comprehensive accounts of their experience and the challenges they face. They can be found online and in high street bookshops.

Whether a hostage or family member chooses to publicise their experience through a particular means or not, it is important to respect their privacy and choices. Where possible, ask for consent before using any material from their case in your reporting.