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Guest blog by Red24 - Playing it safe in Brazil

By red24

The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be held in Brazil from 12 June to 13 July. 32 national teams will play 64 matches in 12 host cities to decide who is ‘The One’. During this time, hundreds of thousands of fans will travel to Brazil and, perhaps, take in a few sights on the way. However, travellers should ensure that the excitement of the competition doesn’t distract from the security risks they may face during their trip, one of which is kidnapping.

Kidnappings are regular occurrences in Brazil, with incidents taking place as often as once a day in major cities, such as those that will host World Cup matches. These are primarily express kidnappings, which involve victims being held for short periods of time (less than 24 hours) while they are forced to withdraw money from ATMs or hand over their credit cards and PIN details. Victims are also robbed of personal possessions. 

These kidnappings are carried out by criminal gangs – as are most kidnappings in Brazil. Kidnapping gangs often target their victims opportunistically, with inebriated or vulnerable individuals being particularly targeted. These gangs usually operate in groups of two or three and use at least one vehicle in order to abduct the victim. Traditional kidnappings for ransom are less common in Brazil but do still occur. However, the main targets in these kidnappings are wealthy local nationals. 

So, how can someone travelling to Brazil to cheer on the boys reduce their risk of being kidnapped? Here are our five top tips for staying safe in Brazil:

  • Carry a mobile phone at all times. These should be pre-programmed with the contact numbers for emergency services.
  • Practise good situational awareness; be alert to suspicious behaviour or signs of surveillance. Express kidnapping advice
  • Only organise a taxi through trusted local sources, such as your accommodation.
  • If possible, only use ATMs that are located in relatively secure environments, such as in busy shopping centres, stores, banks and hotel lobbies, and avoid using them at all after dark.
  • If in an express kidnapping situation, comply with the perpetrators, as hesitation or refusal to follow demands or relinquish valuables frequently leads to violence.

red24 is a crisis management assistance company delivering a range of products and services to businesses, organisations and individuals around the world.