AskDefine | Define kidnap

Dictionary Definition

kidnap v : take away to an undisclosed location against their will and usually in order to extract a ransom; "The industrialist's son was kidnapped" [syn: nobble, abduct, snatch] [also: kidnapping, kidnapped]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

From kid + nap#Etymology 4

Verb

  1. To seize and detain a person unlawfully; sometimes for ransom.

Translations

to seize and detain a person unlawfully
  • Arabic:
  • CJKV Characters:
  • Chinese: 拐带 (guǎidài), 绑票 (bǎngpiào)
  • Dutch: ontvoeren
  • French: kidnapper
  • German: entführen
  • trreq Hebrew
  • Hungarian: elrabol
  • Interlingua: sequestrar
  • Italian: rapire
  • Japanese: 誘拐する
  • trreq Korean
  • Kurdish:
  • Portuguese: sequestrar
  • Russian: похищать (poxiščát’)
  • Spanish: secuestrar, raptar (con fines sexuales)
  • Swedish: kidnappa
  • trreq Turkish

Noun

  1. An instance of kidnapping.

Translations

an instance of kidnapping

Extensive Definition

Scope of application in the United States

In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or asportation of a person against the person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority. This is often done for ransom or in furtherance of another crime. A majority of jurisdictions in the United States retain the "asportation" element for kidnapping, where the victim must be confined in a bounded area against their will and moved. Any amount of movement will suffice for the requirement, even if it is moving the abductee to a house next door. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, however, the asportation element has been abolished. Note that under early English common law, the asportation element required that the victim be moved outside the realm of England or overseas in order for an abduction to be considered "kidnapping."
Kidnapping for money is almost non-existent in the United States of America today, due in great part to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's aggressive stance toward kidnapping. The Bureau made kidnap for ransom a special priority, and continues to do so today. It pursues kidnap cases ferociously; agents who have rescued kidnap victims have been known to describe these rescues as personal high points of their careers.
There are several deterrents to kidnapping in the United States of America. Among these are:
  1. The extreme logistical challenges involved in successfully exchanging the money for the victim without being apprehended or surveiled.
  2. Harsh punishment. Convicted kidnappers can expect to face lengthy prison terms. If a victim is brought across state lines, federal charges can be brought as well.
  3. Good cooperation and information sharing between law enforcement agencies, and tools for spreading information (such as the AMBER Alert system.)
The harsh sentences imposed and the poor risk-to-benefit ratio compared with other crimes have caused kidnap for profit virtually to die out in the United States. One notorious failed example of kidnap for ransom was the Chowchilla bus kidnapping, in which 26 children were abducted with the intention of bringing in a $5 million ransom. Kidnappings for profit that do occur in the United States today are often connected to other criminal activity.
In the past, and presently in some parts of the world (such as southern Sudan), kidnapping is a common means used to obtain slaves and money through ransom. In more recent times, kidnapping in the form of shanghaiing (or "pressganging") men was used to supply merchant ships in the 19th century with sailors, whom the law considered unfree labour.
Kidnapping can also take place in the context of deprogramming, a now rare practice used to convince someone to give up his or her commitment to a new religious movement, called a cult or sect by critics, that the subject's family members consider harmful, prompting their hiring of a deprogrammer.
Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe the relationship a hostage can build with their kidnapper.
According to a 2003 Domestic Violence Report in Colorado, out of a survey of 189 incidents, most people (usually white females) are taken from their homes or residence by a present or former spouse or significant other. They are usually taken by force, not by weapon, and usually the victims are not injured when they are freed.

Kidnapping versus abduction

In the terminology of the common law in many jurisdictions (according to Black's Law Dictionary), the crime of kidnapping is labelled abduction when the victim is a woman. In modern usage, kidnapping or abduction of a child is often called child stealing, particularly when done not to collect a ransom but rather with the intention of keeping the child permanently (often in a case where the child's parents are divorced or legally separated, whereupon the parent who does not have legal custody will commit the act, also known as "childnapping"). Today, the term is no longer restricted to the case of a child victim.
Child abduction can refer to children being taken away without their parents' consent but with the consent of the child. In England and Wales, it is child abduction to take away a child under the age of 16 without parental consent.

Kidnapping in English law

This is a common law offense requiring:
that one person takes and carries another away;
by force or fraud;
without the consent of the person taken; and
without lawful excuse.
It would be difficult to kidnap without also committing false imprisonment, which is the common-law offense of intentionally or recklessly detaining the victim. The use of force to take and detain will also be regarded as an assault, and other, related offences may also be committed before, during, or after the detention.
Alongside murder, kidnapping is the last really significant offence under the common law which has yet to be codified into statute.

Named forms

  • Bride kidnapping is a term often applied loosely, to include any bride physically 'abducted' against the will of her parents, even if she is willing to marry the 'abductor'. It still is traditional amongst certain nomadic peoples of Central Asia. It has seen a resurgence in Kyrgystan since the fall of the Soviet Union and the subsequent erosion of women's rights.
  • Tiger kidnapping is taking an innocent hostage to make a loved one or associate of the victim do something, e.g. a child is taken hostage to force the shopkeeper to open the safe; the term originates from the usually long preceding observation, like a tiger does on the prowl.

Kidnapping today

Kidnapping for ransom is a common occurrence in various parts of the world today, and certain cities and countries are often described as the "Kidnapping Capital of the World." As of 2007, that title belongs to Baghdad. In 2004, it was Mexico , and in 2001 it was Colombia (which continues to have very high levels of abduction due to the ongoing conflict). Haiti also has frequent kidnappings (starting several years ago), as do certain parts of Africa.

Footnotes

References

  • Slave
kidnap in Czech: Únos
kidnap in German: Menschenraub
kidnap in Spanish: Secuestro
kidnap in Esperanto: Homforkapto
kidnap in French: Enlèvement
kidnap in Scottish Gaelic: Toirt am bruid
kidnap in Galician: Secuestro
kidnap in Korean: 유괴
kidnap in Hebrew: חטיפה
kidnap in Italian: Sequestro di persona a scopo di estorsione
kidnap in Dutch: Kidnap
kidnap in Japanese: 誘拐
kidnap in Norwegian: Kidnapping
kidnap in Occitan (post 1500): Sequestracion
kidnap in Portuguese: Sequestro
kidnap in Russian: Киднеппинг
kidnap in Simple English: Kidnapping
kidnap in Finnish: Kidnappaus
kidnap in Swedish: Kidnappning
kidnap in Ukrainian: Кіднепінг
kidnap in Chinese: 綁票

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abduce, abduct, capture, carry away, carry off, coax, crimp, decoy, entice, hold for ransom, impress, inveigh, lure, make off with, return, run away with, seduce, seize, shanghai, skyjack, snatch, spirit away, throttle, waylay
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