What to do if taken hostage:

  1. Be patient. Time is on your side. Avoid drastic action.
  1. The first 45 minutes are the most dangerous. Be alert and follow instructions.
  1. Do not speak unless spoken to and then only when necessary.
  1. Avoid arguments, or appearing hostile. Treat the captor with respect. If you can, establish a rapport with the captor. It is probable the captors do not want to hurt anyone. If medications, first aid, or restroom privileges are needed by anyone, say so.
  1. Try to rest. Avoid speculating. Expect the unexpected.
  1. Be observant. You may be released or escape. You can help others with your observations.
  1. Be prepared to speak to law enforcement personnel on the phone.


  • Be prepared to be interviewed by officials
  • Contact your supervisor to seek counseling services


  • Do not stand out – change your clothing or jewelry that may be inappropriate or culturally insensitive.  Blend in
  • Avoid threatening or offensive gestures/comments when provoked
  • Don’t wear headphones or be occupied by your cell phone in non-familiar places
  • Safeguard your schedule to avoid others predicting where you will be
  • Change your routine
  • Change your route of travel


  • Be aware of how others may perceive you or how much attention you draw to yourself
  • Be familiar with your surroundings as you travel.  Know where police stations or public areas are.
  • Try to avoid using ATMs at night
  • Walk and talk with confidence.
  • Be part of a group
  • Carry your bags across your chest and under your arm
  • Carry little cash with you
  • Be aware of others around you or expressing an interest in your activity.