THE Australian woman kidnapped in a remote area of Ecuador but released yesterday should not have been there in the first place, Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr said.
''Australian travel warnings make the point this is not safe territory, it is underpopulated, it is remote,'' Senator Carr said. ''The border area has criminal activity, including kidnapping.''
The 32-year-old New South Wales woman, whose name has not been released, and a 23-year-old British woman were kidnapped on Friday from the remote Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve in Sucumbios Province, near the Colombian border.
The Department of Foreign Affairs warns there is a ''very high threat of violent criminal activity in these areas''.
It says travellers should ''exercise a high degree of caution'' in Ecuador, but recommends not travelling to Sucumbios Province.
The women were in a canoe, part of a group of seven tourists and two Ecuadorian guides, in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, one of the most biodiverse sites in the world. Locals have been building eco-tourism in the region since the 1990s.
The woman is in the care of Ecuadorian authorities and the Australian consul to Chile is on the way to provide assistance.