From Wired How-To Wiki
It’s an unfortunate coincidence that some of the world’s most beautiful places happen to be the most dangerous. No one is suggesting that anyone spend spring break in the Green Zone, but with the Abu Sayyaf in Southeast Asia, Somali pirates roaming Africa’s coastlines, and drug unrest in South America, the world is becoming an increasingly dangerous place. If you have no interest in spending your precious vacation time scratching notches in the wall of a hut, we have a few tips on how to minimize your risk — and what to do if you’re actually captured.
Talk to people who have traveled there before
In some parts of the world, carrying a sheaf of official-looking papers with stamps and signatures all over them can be a useful tool for convincing your captors that you’re too important to be killed. In others, raising your profile is a good way to ensure that you’re never released. If you’re planning to travel in a risky area, check the State Department’s current travel warnings and garner tips from people who have been there before. If you don’t know anyone personally, forums like Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree are a good place to start. But take everything you hear with a grain of salt. Everyone — even experienced travelers and journalists — gets things wrong from time to time.
Be mindful and exercise common sense
The camera you’re carrying, the sunglasses you’re wearing — in some places, what you’ve spent on attire for one day could feed the people around you for a year. Don’t pull out your Nikon DSLR in the middle of a black market, and don’t wear anything flashy, shiny or that makes you stick out. Stay on the fringes of crowds and keep an escape route in mind. If you’re a woman, wearing a headscarf and avoiding too much familiarity with male friends or colleagues could save you some harassment. Learn the basics of the local language, such as how to identify yourself and communicate with the local people.
Travel with an offering
The only thing worse than a mugger is a mugger who is pissed off because he has to leave empty-handed. Carrying cash may save your life. Make it a point to always have $100 on you to satiate a potential attacker, but keep it in a decoy wallet separate from your real wallet with any important documents or identification cards you may need.
Ingratiate yourself with your captors
No one can plan for everything. Somali pirates kidnapped a French citizen when she hadn’t even left her resort. If the worst happens, most security firms encourage the kidnap victim to cooperate with their captors as much as possible. Talk freely about sports, your family and even your religious beliefs. The more they’re able to see you as a person, the better they will treat you and the more likely it is that they will let you live.
Take care of yourself
Don’t refuse food and water. Maintain your mental stability by establishing a routine. Even if you’re contained in a windowless room, exterior noises and temperature patterns are both good ways to track the passage of time. Exercise, such as push-ups, stretching or jumping jacks, keep you fit and alert in the event of a chance to escape. If you have access to other prisoners, communicate with them as much as possible. In addition to lessening your isolation, you can coordinate any escape attempts, ascertain the reasons for your kidnapping and better gauge your chances for survival.
Be alert for warning signs
Have you been kidnapped for ransom, or political purposes? What do your captors want from you, and are you equipped to give it to them? If they plan on killing you, their behavior will change abruptly. They may treat you harshly or stop feeding you in an attempt to dehumanize you. If you note these warning signs, try to coordinate an escape — but otherwise, remain cooperative.
Stay out of the way when the cavalry comes
We all have dreams of playing Sandra Bullock opposite Keanu Reeves, but real-life hostage situations very rarely resemble Speed. A rescue is a stressful situation for everyone involved, and your best bet is to stay out of the way of anyone with a weapon who might make a mistake. Keep away from your captors, who might decide to use you as a human shield or simply eliminate all remaining hostages. Stay as low as possible and put your hands on your head so that your rescuers don’t mistake you as a suspect. Don’t make any sudden movements and if possible, take shelter. Desks, tables and bathtubs all make excellent makeshift forts.
Article by Adrienne So, Wired.com.
This page was last modified 17:25, 4 November 2011 by howto_admin.