Kidnapping Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Kidnapping, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Kidnapping?

It refers to forceful abduction of a human being with the intention to hold them for ransom, or seize them away for the motive of harrassment (physically or mentally or sexually), taking them hostage and various other motives. It is done by the way of taking the kidnapped person to a place where they are unlikely to be found and is unlikely to be released till abductors demands are satisfied.

History and Meaning of Kidnapping

Kidnapping is a serious crime that involves the abduction of a person using force, fraud, or coercion. The crime of kidnapping has been around for centuries and was often used as a means of obtaining ransom or as a tool of political coercion. In modern times, kidnapping has become associated with human trafficking, terrorism, and other forms of organized crime.

In the United States, kidnapping is a federal crime and is also illegal in all 50 states. Although the specific elements of the crime of kidnapping vary depending on state and federal law, it generally requires that the defendant take the victim from one place to another without their consent and with the intention of causing harm, obtaining a ransom, or otherwise committing a crime.

Examples of Kidnapping

  1. In 2002, Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her home in Utah at the age of 14 and held captive for nine months before being rescued.
  2. In 2014, 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by the Boko Haram terrorist group in Nigeria. Many of the girls were later released, but some were forced into marriage or sold into slavery.
  3. In 1932, the Lindbergh baby was abducted from his home in New Jersey and held for ransom. The case became a national sensation, and although the baby's body was eventually found, the kidnapper was never caught.

Legal Terms Similar to Kidnapping

  1. False imprisonment - the unlawful restraint of a person's freedom of movement
  2. Abduction - the taking away of a person by force or deception
  3. Human trafficking - the exploitation of a person for labor or sexual purposes through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.