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Digital Subscriptions > American Survival Guide > December 2018 > TRAVELER, TOURIST, TARGET

TRAVELER, TOURIST, TARGET

AVOID ABDUCTION AND CAPTIVITY WHEN YOU TRAVEL OVERSEAS.

The convenience and accessibility of modern travel and a strong American economy mean that many of us are spending time in foreign lands. Whether it’s for work or pleasure, overseas travel is increasingly common and, with it, come some significant concerns.

More than being uneasy about exchange rates, language differences and pickpockets, the wise traveler should be on the watch for the possibility of being detained or kidnapped while on foreign soil. Actual statistics are difficult to pin down, but Hostage US estimates the number of kidnappings, alone, at somewhere between 200 and 300 per year. In our book, that’s enough to send up a red flag.

Suffice it to say, never leave the country without providing trusted family and friends with your complete travel itinerary. This way, if you disappear, they’ll have some idea of where to start searching.

TYPES OF CAPTIVITY

When it comes to being held against your will while traveling abroad, unless you are a soldier being held as a prisoner of war, there are really only two captivity scenarios you’re likely to find yourself in: detention or imprisonment by a recognized government entity; or being held captive or hostage by a terrorist or criminal person/group.

The U.S. government has made public the names of about 20 U.S. citizens currently imprisoned overseas by rogue states and hostile regimes. However, the State Department will not release the names—or even the total number—of Americans currently being held hostage by terrorist organizations and militant groups, citing security concerns as its reason for keeping this information classified.

It is difficult to predict the standard of living and treatment you could encounter as a hostage. Be prepared for physical abuse and unsanitary conditions. Expect sleep, food and water deprivation.
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