Though high profile political kidnapping still captures the headlines, kidnappers today are increasingly motivated by profit as much as principle. With the end of the cold war, political groups which relied on Soviet funding have had to find new sources of income – and many have turned to kidnapping. This is now big business – worth over $500 million each year and rising.

This report argues that we need to rethink kidnapping policies that were set up to respond where demands are political and solutions are found in the diplomatic sphere.

The Kidnapping Business shows how economic kidnapping throws open the doors to the negotiating table: allowing anyone with the means to pay to resolve cases without reference to national governments.

As more and more UK companies locate overseas, charities get involved in risky places, and the public’s appetite for daring tourist destinations increases year on year, this report highlights the confusion in each of the groups about who is responsible for their safety. The Kidnapping Business sets out a detailed plan for UK policy-makers in government, companies and charities and clarifies their responsibilities, both to their own personnel, and to the rest of the policy community.

By adopting a preventative approach, based on lowering the opportunities for kidnapping, The Kidnapping Business offers an invaluable insight into tackling other similar cross-cutting issues that require new forms of engagement between actors in the public, private and voluntary sectors.