Is kidnapping a major threat to American tourists in 2019? The State Department certainly seems to think so at the moment. In fact, the State Department recently issued a new kidnapping category on its travel advisory website. The move comes just after an American tourist named Kimberly Sue Endicott and her guide were abducted by an armed group while touring Uganda's Queen Elizabeth National Park. Both Endicott and her companion were eventually rescued by security forces. The group that abducted the tourist wanted $500,000 in ransom money.
The story has many international tourists on edge. President Trump and members of the government have been vocal about the fact that more needs to be done to address kidnapping dangers in foreign countries.
The State Department has issued a list of 35 countries where kidnapping is a real danger. Uganda is on the list. In addition, Mexico also made the list. The State Department has actually singled out five states within Mexico for being particularly risky when it comes to kidnapping dangers. Here's the full list of the countries the State Department is singling out due to kidnapping risks:
- Burkina Faso
- Central African Republic
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Papua New Guinea
- Russian Federation
- South Sudan
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Russian-controlled Ukraine
The State Department will indicate that a country poses a high risk for kidnappings by placing a "K" next to that country's name on its website. Abductors often target American tourists because they are seeking ransom amounts. However, there is also the possibility that abductions can be politically motivated.