Emergency Hotline

Time period

February 2018

Location

Mexico

Mission

Grupo Irena attends to emergencies its clients might find themselves in across Latin America. To make it simple for people to reach us when in a difficult situation, the company has created a dedicated hotline (01 800) that is staffed 24/7 by experts.

Once the call is made, Grupo Irena will locate the client, send a vehicle to pick them up, stay with them on the phone, bring them to safety and remain as a reassuring presence until the situation is fully diffused.

Purpose of the Hotline:

The Grupo Irena hotline is to attend to any emergency or dangerous situation its clients might find themselves in. Whether being shaken down by police, being followed by a vehicle or receiving an extortion attempt by telephone, our staff understands the levels of stress this can generate and will do everything to help.

In Mexico, Grupo Irena’s main base, the hotline is mostly used in specific instances.

What types of situations is the hotline used for?

The most common type of crime reported on the hotline is phone extortions. A convincing criminal may persuade an otherwise skeptical person that their wife or child has been kidnapped and that immediate action needs to be taken to pay a ransom. By calling the hotline, the client can walk an expert through a situation who will be able to spot flaws in the story and recommend immediate action, such as immediately breaking contact and hanging up the phone.

However, there are far more dangerous situations in which the Hotline can play a critical part. Our teams have intervened after burglaries, when clients are being shaken down for a bribe by crooked cops, when relatives may have gone missing and far more besides.

EXAMPLE: WHAT TO DO AFTER A KIDNAPPING?

One Grupo Irena client was travelling by taxi when an accomplice of the driver entered the vehicle and robbed him. The man was kidnapped and they stole his wallet, phone, laptop and house keys. He was then abandoned in just his clothes in a rough neighborhood of Mexico City, with no idea where he was, no means of contact and no public transport around.

Managing to find a pay phone, the client dialed the Group Irena Hotline at 01 800. By describing local landmarks and details found in the phone booth, he was located by our staff who dispatched a car. The team found him and brought him to a safe place, namely a hotel room, in order to call his family.

But this is not the end of how the Hotline operates. A debrief then took place to ascertain if there were any further risks to deal with. It was quickly realized that the thieves had his wallet, which contained his address, and his house keys.

This led to two lines of defense. First, Grupo Irena took care of personal security. The locks on the house were changed, all people interacting with the children were briefed, the client was accompanied to the police to file a complaint and a therapist was recommended to provide post-traumatic support.

The second line was to we seek to understand why it happened. Was this crime random or targeted? Was the client picked out due to the company he works for, a specific project he is attached to, or particular knowledge he may have?

Does this apply to other crimes?

Yes, the same process on how to identify the scope of a threat and remove it applies to all situations reported to the Hotline. For example, with phone extorsions, Grupo Irena staff proceed to a series of checks. Was the attempt made at random or was the client targeted? If it happens outside the home, such as at a hotel, was there a leak coming from someone on staff?

While most of these crimes are random, there are a number of factors that can show a targeted intent. One common situation is the finding of patterns within a company. If several colleagues have been targeted in a short period of time, this may reveal a broader aim to destabilize a company.

The Hotline is on hand to serve not just individual clients but companies as well, helping to reinforce their security and offering an additional line of defense.