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Effective Responses to Kidnapping: Best practices in family support and hostage reintegration

June 9, 2016

On Thursday, June 9th, Hostage US held a daylong seminar in Washington, D.C., focusing on how organizations can effectively respond to kidnapping and the best practices in family support and hostage reintegration. More than 100 were in attendance at the inaugural event.

The seminar answered key questions facing those responsible for kidnap response with organizations from security, legal and HR disciplines:


What are my organizational and individual responsibilities and legal liabilities in relation to kidnapping? 
Jim Snyder, an attorney and Chair of the Senior Advisory Committee of US Secretary of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council discussed an organization’s duty of care before, during and after a kidnapping based upon his extensive experience managing risk as the Chief Security Officer for multiple Fortune 500 companies operating in a variety of extremely high risk locations.   Relying on actual cases, Jim outlined steps that an organization should take to minimize the potential for a kidnapping as well as how it should respond following an abduction to not only help assure the safe return and recovery of the kidnap victim, but to minimize the adverse impact to the organization’s reputation and legal position.


What does best practice look like in organizational response to kidnapping?
Evan Fuery, Vice President, Head of Security Improvement Program, Corporate Security and Emergency Preparedness from Statoil will present a case study of his company’s response to the In Amenas incident in 2013.  He talked about what worked, what didn’t and what they learned from their experience.

Listen to the interview with Evan Fuery on this topic https://hostageus.org/2016/07/evan-fuery-on-the-in-amenas-incident-in-2013/


How can you support and engage the family during a kidnapping?
Rachel Briggs OBE, Executive Director of Hostage US, has over a decade of experience supporting families during and after a kidnapping as both Director of Hostage UK and now Executive Director of Hostage US. She outlined best practice, common mistakes and how you can use existing organizational tools to bring the family into your team. She also outlined how Hostage US can assist you in this work, including its range of free of charge services for families and returning hostages (legal, financial management, health, psychological) as well as their education program of seminars, training, videos and best practices.


What does it feel like to experience a kidnapping first hand?
Fernando Valseca was 13 years old when his father was kidnapped in Mexico. Now a student and radio talk show host, he spoke about his experiences of experiencing a kidnapping as a family member, highlighting the support needs of the family. It is rare to hear from the child of a hostage, so this was a rare opportunity to understand how you as an organization can support both the children and adults of employees during a kidnapping.

Listen to Fernando’s story and his family’s experience with the kidnapping https://hostageus.org/2016/07/reflections-from-the-son-of-a-former-hostage/

Roy Hallums was kidnapped and held for 311 days in Iraq. He will talk about how he coped during captivity and how he reintegrated to life and work on his return. He will help you to understand how you as an organization can assist in this reintegration process.

Listen to Roy’s first hand experience of being held 311 days in Iraq https://hostageus.org/2016/07/reflections-from-a-former-hostage/


What are the latest kidnapping trends? 
Bob Klamser has over three decades of experience as a negotiator working all over the world. He outlined the latest kidnapping trends and what they mean for your organization.


How can we partner with the US government in the event of the kidnapping of a member of staff or contractor?
Jen Easterly, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counterterrorism, Jim O’Brien, Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, and Mike McGarrity, Head of the Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell outlined the new structures and mechanisms for hostage cases and how they work with the private sector in the event of a kidnapping. They reflected on the Presidential Review of Government handling of hostage cases that reported in June 2015 and explain how the new policy and Executive Order impact on organizations across the United States.

The seminar was aimed at:

  • Security Officers for corporations and non-profit, including faith based, organizations
  • HR Department heads for organizations with staff traveling or living overseas
  • Overseas and extension learning coordinators for colleges and universities
  • Hostage families and hostage survivors

Download the seminar agenda.

For more information on upcoming events visit https://hostageus.org/events/


To organize a seminar or training for your organization, please contact info@hostageus.org or visit https://hostageus.org/organizations/


June 9, 2016


K&L Gates LLP
1601 K St NW # 1
Washington, DC 20006 United States
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