Kidnapping Survival Guidelines
Kidnapping is a terrifying experience, but you probably possess more personal resources than you think to cope with the situation. Remember, you are of value to your kidnappers only if you are alive, and they want to keep you that way. Your best defense is passive cooperation. The more time passes, the better your chances of being released alive.
Kidnapping can happen anywhere -- you can be taken off the street, from a car, or from your hotel room or residence. If escape is impossible or too risky, you should nevertheless try to cause as much commotion as safely possible to draw attention to the situation. You need to make others aware that an abduction has taken place so that the authorities are notified and the search can begin. Otherwise, it could be hours or days before your absence is reported.
Once you have been forced into a vehicle, you may be blindfolded, beaten (to cause unconsciousness), drugged, or forced to lie face down on the floor of the vehicle. In some instances, hostages have been forced into trunks or specially built compartments for transporting contraband. If drugs are administered, do not resist. Their purpose will be to sedate you and make you more manageable. It is probably better to be drugged than to be beaten unconscious. If you are conscious, follow your captors instructions.
While being confined and transported, do not struggle. Calm yourself mentally and concentrate on surviving. Attempt to visualize the route being taken, make a mental note of turns, street noise, smells, etc. Try to keep track of the amount of time spent between points.
Once you have arrived at your destination, you may be placed in a temporary holding area before being moved again to a more permanent detention site. If you are interrogated:
After reaching what you may presume to be your permanent detention site (you may be moved several more times), quickly settle into the situation.
Do not be uncooperative, antagonistic, or hostile towards your captors. Hostages who display this type of behavior are often kept captive longer or are singled out for torture or punishment.
Watch for signs of "Stockholm Syndrome" which occurs when the captive, due to the close proximity and the constant pressures involved, begins to relate to, and empathize with, the captors. In some cases, this relationship has resulted in the hostage becoming empathetic to the point that he/she actively participates in the activities of the group. Establish a friendly rapport with your captors, but maintain your personal dignity and do not compromise your integrity.
Remember, time is on your side. Eventually you will probably be released or rescued. Do not try to escape unless you are certain of success. If you are able to escape, go first to a US Embassy or Consulate to seek protection. If you cannot reach either, go to a host government or friendly government office. If an attempt is made to rescue you, keep a low profile and immediately follow all instructions.
Military personnel and others should review the information available at the Department of Defense Antiterrorism Assistance Web Site. The web address is http://www.dtic.mil/jcs/force_protection. This site includes the Service Member's Personal Protection Guide, which includes the DoD Code of Conduct for Personnel Subject to Terrorist Activity. It also includes CINC/Theater-specific requirements.