Sunday, July 23, 2006

OSAC Kidnapping Guidelines (Haiti)

Some good information passed out at a recent OSAC meeting in Haiti. Although oriented to American business people, also applicable to NGO staff (swap out the U.S. Embassy telephone numbers for the numbers of your own embassy or consulate if you're not a U.S. citizen). More on the recent upswing in violence and kidnappings here.


At home:
· Be aware of people in your neighborhood.
· Know your neighbors.
· Know who is coming to your house.
· Don’t discuss you business in public.
· Don’t throw away receipts (shred or burn them).
· Keep a light burning in front of the house at night.
· If possible, have a few dogs.
· Install a bell or warning system when the gate is open.
· Padlock all doors (with the locks inside) that are not used regularly.
· Keep the telephone numbers (cell and fixed) of several neighbors handy.

In the car:
· Be alert!
· Stay off the telephone while driving!
· Have the car serviced at regular intervals.
· Avoid running out of gas.
· Inspect the tires before getting into the car.
· Keep the doors locked.
· Keep the windows closed.
· Don’t tailgate.
· Avoid back roads (shortcuts).
· If something doesn’t look good – get out of there!
· Leave the house at different times.
· Change routes often.
· Call ahead when returning home.
· Don’t stay out too late –unless you are with a group.
· At night, look before turning on to a dark road.
· If your car is bumped (usually) from behind, do not get out. Get the plate number and go to nearest commissariat.


If you are abducted:
· At the time of the abduction, try to stay calm.
· Do not fight, because you may get hurt!
· Try to get a description of the perpetrators.
· Try to get a description of where you are being taken.
· Have a telephone number of someone you trust to give to the kidnappers.
· Do not give an overseas telephone number!
· Do not give the kidnappers the telephone numbers of friends.
· Do not pressure the family. Things are being done on your behalf.
· Do not tell kidnappers about persons who can give money!
· Keep your options open - if you can escape - do so.
· In case of an operation by police, move towards the police.
· In case of an operation by the police, tell them who you are in a loud voice!

For the family of the kidnap victim

Upon receipt of the kidnappers’ call:
· Do not make an offer.
· Contact DCPJ 250-3630.
· Contact the U.S. Embassy’s American Citizen Services Unit at 222-0200, ext 8673, 8727, or 8631. On evenings/weekends, call Post One (Embassy Marine Guard) at 222-0200, ext 0.
· Contact UNPOL hotline 244-3503.
· Designate someone to be the negotiator for the family, preferably someone strong, level headed and who speaks Creole and English.
· Do not discuss financial arrangements in front of strangers or servants.
· If possible, move the family to another location to avoid intelligence gathering by the perpetrators.

· The initial offer to the kidnappers should always be in HAITIAN GOURDES, and a very low amount, regardless of how much money the kidnappers have demanded.
· Do not offer what is not on hand.
· Do not offer suggestions to kidnappers.
· Have someone ready to make the drop when an agreement has been reached.


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