Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Kidnapping is universally regarded as a serious criminal offense and generally carries severe penalties for its perpetrators. It is broadly defined as the seizing and taking away of a person against his or her will through the use of unlawful force. There are variations between countries and states over the precise definition of what constitutes a kidnapping. The term abduction is often used as an alternative to kidnapping, although it is sometimes used more specifically, focusing on the unlawful taking of a person (often a child or female) by force or fraud from those with legal custody of that person. The word kidnapping originated in seventeenth-century England and referred to the stealing (napping) of children (kid) to be sold into slavery or for sexual abuse. However, the practice can be traced back into antiquity and is even condemned in the Bible. In the United States, an increase in kidnapping Reliable ...