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10 Ways To Keep Your Expat Out of Trouble

August 1, 1997
Related Topics: Expatriate Management, Featured Article
There are ways to minimize the risk of an expatriate or business traveler becoming the victim of a crime. Here's how you can help personnel steer clear of trouble:

1. If you're setting up an expatriate training program, make sure global employees receive general training about traveling and living abroad, specific training on the place they're going to, and that they learn how and where to get more information.

2. Remind expats not to draw attention to the fact that they're American. Flag emblems, American cars, sweatshirts and T-shirts displaying American names, and other such items, are best left at home.

3. Advise expats that if they're traveling, they should arrive at the airport as close to departure as possible. Tell them to wait in areas away from the main flow of traffic and to sit in restaurants and lobbies where they're not as easily observed.

4. Make sure an expat's car and home are equipped with adequate security systems. A single family home should also have good outside lighting.

5. If you have an employee who drives to work or uses a driver, tell him or her to vary departure and arrival times and take different routes. Predictability is a common cause of problems.

6. For expats traveling in high-threat areas, tell them to avoid luggage tags or to attach fictitious luggage tags to their bags, placing the correct address inside.

7. Tell employees to stay current on crime and other problems by regularly checking The State Department's Travel Advisory service on the World Wide Web and by using other available services such as Pinkerton's Global Risk Assessment or Kroll's TravelWatch, that provide detailed information on various hot spots.

8. Make sure the employee registers with the American embassy or consulate in a foreign country. In the event of a disaster, war or an attempted overthrow of the government, minutes could make the difference in locating American expats. An embassy or consulate also can provide briefings on the latest trends.

9. Assure expats that they don't have to go overboard with security measures. Too much protection attracts attention. Virtually all business travelers, including senior executives, aren't well-known or recognized once they're away from their companies.

10. Advise employees to remain confident at all times. Those who look like victims often become victims. Would-be attackers often observe body language so employees should be conscious of how they appear. And remember, the odds of being kidnapped or caught in a terrorist attack are less than that of being hit by lightning.

Workforce, August 1997, Vol. 76, No. 8, p. 32.

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