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There are criminal organizations for which your freedom is just a negotiation piece.
Kidnapping terminates your freedom or your life; it destroys unity and tranquility in the family; it annihilates trust in the country and its institutions; it does away with work and family equity; it drains the national economy and it tarnishes Colombias image abroad.
Because of this and many more reasons of security it is recommended that you directly seek the groups of unified action for personal freedom (GAULA because of its Spanish acronym) in the event of a threat for kidnapping or extortion.
The GAULA Groups
The GAULA groups are elite units created by law 282 of 1996, exclusively working to avoid and act against kidnapping and extortion. These units are comprised of highly trained personnel to perform rescue operations and dismantling of criminal gangs causing the above-mentioned crimes affecting personal freedom of Colombians.
Likewise, there is an institutionality in GAULA that guarantees itself overseen of procedures, since it is made up of personnel from DAS, CTI, District Attorneys Office and the Armed Forces. At this time Colombia has 16 Gaula groups from the Army and two from the Navy.
RECOMMENDATIONS TO PREVENT KIDNAPPINGS
IN THE FAMILY:
• Be always alert, checking out your surroundings; immediately report any suspicious situation to the authorities.
• When you feel you are vulnerable to a kidnapping consult your nearest GAULA group and relate your situation to receive help of obtaining preventive measures that should be observed for your security.
• Keep a low profile, refrain from being ostentatious and don’t brag about your financial success in public.
• Always carry some type of communication device with you.
• Make your family aware of not providing any information to strangers.
• Rear and educate your children within the context of our current situation. Fomenting solidarity and trust in the authorities.
• Leave your children in the care of people of absolute trustworthiness.
• Make sure an adult accompanies them to the bus stop or school bus with recommendations regarding security.
• Demand that they inform you where and with whom they are going to be.
• Be familiar with your childrens friends, it is important to know who they live with.
• Instruct them to always be wary of strangers, so that they never allow a stranger in the house, so that they wont accept any gifts, food, invitations, or provide any information about their parents activities.
• Employ predetermined codewords with your children that will easily flag danger and provide instructions.
AT THE WORK SITE:
• Inasmuch as possible work within regular business hours, so that you will always have company.
• Never keep all your money in one bank account and dont handle large quantities of money in cash.
• There must be stimuli to reward employee initiative in issues of security, in order to spur loyalty.
• Pay special attention to choosing people that for work reasons have access to accounting figures and personal data.
• Be unpredictable, avoid every routine, constantly change routes, means of transportation, dates and times of your activities.
IN PUBLIC PLACES:
• Notify only your family and close relatives of your trips.
• When taking a cab identify the taxi company, the shortwave handle and the license plate.
• If you suspect you are being followed, immediately change routes and notify authorities.
• Be distrustful of any accidents, distractions were strangers on the road. Avoid any of them without getting out of your car.
• Remain alert and dont provide any opportunities. The majority of people kidnapped thought "that will never happen to me…"
RECOMMENDATIONS AGAINST EXTORTION
• Extortion may originate in the kidnapping of company staff members or loved ones. As such, it should be handled under the following parameters:
• In the event of receiving any verbal or written threats seeking to obtain ransom money in exchange for personal integrity of any of your family members, notify GAULA discreetly, but in detail, follow their instructions and cooperate with them.
• If the threat takes place by written communication, avoid that the paper be handled by others; and delete carefully so that the others fingerprints will not be erased. Turn the document over to the GAULA group for its technical analysis.
• Comience began to search for suspicious people within: employees recently fired, new employees, debtors, business competition and acquire an install in your home or place of work call identifier.
• Only let those who are covered by the threads and know the security measures.
• Remaining calm is important, fear may turn out to be the criminals best weapon against you.
• If you receive any extortion calls, do not become aggressive against the extortionist. Talk with the criminal, ask many questions, ask to identify the group that he belongs to, etc. Stretch out and prolong the negotiation.
• Once you have come in contact with GAULA, triy to agree with the extortionist on the greatest number of details possible, especially exact place of the money delivery and the characteristics of the person who will make the pickup.
• Inasmuch as possible, places of deliveries should always be in urban areas, but always in coordination with the GAULA group.
• Under no circumstance should you accept an appointment with an extortionist without first having consulted GAULA, nor much less, meet the monetary demands they are making. Nobody should yield to paying the extortions, which will only increase this crime in Colombia.
• Bear in mind that whoever pays and extortion will always be a target for the rest of his/her life.
• The first extortion will be between $1,000,000 and $30,000,000.
• The second extortion will hit $30 to $ 70,000,000.
• The third extortion will be between $70,000,000 and $500,000,000.
• The fourth extortion will end in death when they have abolished your capital.