Taken Hostage: The Silent Victims of Kidnapping Abroad

  • 23 Oct 2019
  • 11:30 AM - 1:15 PM
  • ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Room 601, 111 E. Taylor Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004


  • Applies to Prepaid members, all Cabinet level members, and Platinum and Gold Corporate memberships.

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Topical Discussion

Taken Hostage:

The Silent Victims of Kidnapping Abroad


Wednesday, October 23, 2019 | 11:30 am-1:15 pm

Lunch & Networking: 11:30 am-12:00 pm
Program: 12:00-1:15 pm


ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Room 601

111 E. Taylor Street

Phoenix, AZ 85004



Member Registration: $20

Non-Member Registration: $25

About the Event

It is estimated that up to 200 Americans are kidnapped overseas each year—taken by terrorists in places such as Afghanistan and Syria and by criminals in countries such as Mexico and Central and South America. Others are detained by countries including Iran and North Korea. The problem is larger than most Americans are aware, but because of the necessary secrecy, most cases do not make the headlines.

Families suffer alone and in silence and struggle to make sense of this new and strange world they are thrown into. They face a myriad of challenges; navigating the branches of government, finding properly qualified counselors, most of whom don’t accept health insurance, accessing their loved ones bank accounts if they do not have passwords or a power of attorney, along with the challenges posed by acute fear and sleeplessness over months or even years.

After surviving captivity, hostages must then learn how to survive survival; coping with choice again, reintegrating into families who struggle to know how best to support them, PTSD, rebuilding their bodies after the harsh physical conditions of captivity, and coming home to a financial mess with no credit rating and unfiled tax returns to contend with. The problems are myriad, complex, and especially difficult to solve for those who are sleep deprived and suffering the effects of trauma.

Rachel Briggs OBE is the Founding Executive Director of Hostage US. She will share her experience working with hundreds of former hostages and families over the past 15 years, as well as what she learned when her own family had their own brush with hostage taking – her uncle was kidnapped in Colombia and held for 7 months.

About Hostage US

Hostage US is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides care, support and practical assistance to American hostages and their families during and after a kidnapping. Founded in 2015, it is based on a successful model Rachel helped to stand up in the UK. All assistance is delivered free of charge, confidentially and independent of any other interest. For more information, visit their website.

About Rachel Briggs

Rachel Briggs OBE is Executive Director of Hostage US, a non-profit that supports hostages and their families, during and after a kidnapping. Rachel helped to set up and was the founding Director of Hostage UK, which was founded by Terry Waite and Carlo Laurenzi. It was the world’s first support service for the victims of hostage taking. She relocated to Washington DC to set up Hostage US in 2015.

She is a distinguished researcher and writer on issues of national security, has advised governments and corporations across Europe and North America, ran a working group for the European Union on the use of technology in tackling terrorism and is a regular media commentator. She is President of the Board of Directors of the Global Center on Cooperative Security which works with international institutions, governments around the world and local civil society groups to tackle the challenge of violent extremism. She is also an Associate Fellow of Chatham House.

She was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by Her Majesty the Queen in recognition for services to hostages and their families.

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