James Foley Kidnapped in Syria: Who Do You Call?


American freelance reporter James Foley has been missing in Syria since Thanksgiving Day, 2012 and believed to be held by pro-regime Syrian militia. Despite reaching out to the Syrian government through Lebanese diplomats, Foley's family and the GlobalPost have yet to get any information regarding Foley's whereabouts.

This is where private Kidnap & Rescue firms step in to "retrieve" the missing people. These "multi-billion dollar transnational, multinational enterprise" firms have been growing in number and prominence, especially covering the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, but they also work in the U.S. 

During my research in compiling this article, information was hard to come by. These companies keep a tight lid on what they offer and how they go about recovering people. Since most of these companies recover kidnapping victims abroad they don't have to reveal their cases to the public or the FBI.

Here are some of the firms that offer Kidnap & Rescue services 

1. Unity Resources Group

This is an Australian private military firm that handles security for the Australian embassy in Baghdad as part of a $9 million contract, but is also mired in scandal: it is one of only two military contractors to have killed civilians and an Australian in Iraq.

2. DynCorp International

Named Military Times EDGE magazine's 2013 list of "Best for Vets" employers, Dyncorp International offers a suite of services including army and naval systems maintenance as well as physical security and crisis response. Kidnap and ransom situations are often called "crisis response" in corporate and insurance terminology.

Companies that take out kidnap and ransom insurance for their employees don't want their employees knowing that, because when kidnapped, said employee could reveal they are covered and create a situation where the kidnappers demand a higher ransom.

3. Guidry Group

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This firm was started by Michael Guidry and primarily works in the U.S., England, Mexico, Russia, Africa, and Thailand. Claiming over 100 successful negotiations, their company also offers Kidnap, Ransom, and Extortion insurance coverage for companies and individuals with the description "policies to protect if the day should ever come."

4. The HALO Corp.

HALO Corp. started as a disaster relief and humanitarian aid support company. "The best way to put it, we were in the wrong place at the right time," says Chief Brad Barker from his San Diego base.

"We were Americans with a special operations, law enforcement, and intelligence background. We never started this company to be the kidnap response company. We just happened to be a group of folks that were capable of combating this threat in areas where it was happening around us."