How to deal with being taken hostage

Criminals or terrorists can use kidnapping to demand ransom or to make their own political demands. Do not travel to areas that the government has advised against or where criminal gangs are known to be active. 

In the unlikely event of being taken hostage, please follow the rules of con-duct for hostages:

  1. Prevent actions that may incite the perpetrators to use weapons, in-cluding sudden movement or noise. 
  2. Be prepared for the perpetrators to use blindfolds, gags, handcuffs or ropes.
  3. Do not look the perpetrators in the eye as this can be seen as com-bative behaviour. Try to not provoke them as this may make them more aggressive.
  4. Do not try to resist, do not show unnecessary heroism trying to dis-arm the gang or to escape.
  5. Do not resist if you are told that you have been taken hostage and forced out of the room.
  6. If you have children with you, find a safe place for them or keep them close to you if this is not possible.
  7. Accept the perpetrators' demands and do not try to contradict them. Do not jeopardise your own life and the lives of others. The most im-portant thing is not to panic.
  8. If you need medical help, speak calmly and concisely, without agitat-ing the criminals. Do nothing until you get permission.
  9. Pay attention. Try to remember distinguishing features of the perpe-trators such as clothes, names, nicknames, possible scars and tattoos, lan-guage features and behaviour, as well as topics of conversation etc.
  10. Try to stay calm and restrained. Be on guard. Focus on sounds, movements etc.
  11. Be prepared to explain the availability of any documents, phone numbers etc.
  12. If the detention is long, do not let your mind weaken. Keep your mind active by recalling things such as historical dates, names of acquaint-ances, phone numbers etc. Exercise as much as your strength and space al-low. Make sure you keep track of the time, if possible.
  13. If you are given the opportunity to talk to relatives on the phone, keep calm, do not cry and do not shout. Speak briefly and concisely. Try to establish contact with terrorists. 
  14. If you find yourself locked in a room, try to get someone's attention like break the window, call for help or set off the fire alarm.
  15. Remember that after receiving notification of your kidnapping, spe-cial services have already begun to act and will do everything necessary to ensure your release.

During a hostage rescue: 

  • Lie on the floor face down, cover your head with your hands and do not move;
  • Stay away from doors and windows;
  • Do not run towards or away from the special services as you may be perceived as a perpetrator.