The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States prompted security measures that have resulted in the United States dropping from being the sixth riskiest country for kidnappings to off the top-10 list entirely.

But, according to Dan Houston, a senior account executive with the Atlanta-based corporate and individual risk management and asset protection firm The McCart Group, there are plenty of other candidates to fill the breach.

Mr. Houston, a former director of risk management and insurance at the Atlanta office of NCR Corp., considers the following countries to be in the top 10 for kidnappings.

They are Mexico, Colombia, Russia, Brazil, China, El Salvador, India, Malaysia, Philippines and Venezuela in that order.

These countries, however, are not the 10 most dangerous in the world, he told GlobalAtlanta in an interview. That distinction goes to the following, he said: Afghanistan, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Somalia, Sudan, Togo and Zimbabwe.

Mexico has recently overtaken Colombia as the riskiest country for kidnapping, but the most violent practices for kidnappings take place in Russia because of a ruthless mafia there, he said.

According to Mr. Houston, kidnappings generally occur for a wide array of reasons ranging from simple monetary gain to retribution for spoiling natural resources or undermining local businesses.

Other reasons include to gain technical and trade secrets, blackmail governments, to publicize a cause and the abundance of targets such as tourists, aid workers and missionaries, he said.

Mr. Houston will address these issues and others at a seminar on Tuesday, Oct. 9, including what to expect from a kidnapping such as the initial contact to the return of hostages as well as the sorts of insurance coverage available and advice for risk managers.

The seminar, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Georgian Club, 100 Galleria Parkway, Suite 1700, Atlanta, 30339 from 10 a.m. to noon.

To register for the seminar, go to or for further information send an email to

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