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What Is Kidnapping? 

Kidnapping occurs when someone takes and holds someone captive using force and/or against their will. Often, kidnapping and abduction get confused for one another. Abduction involves taking someone by using fraud, deceit, and persuasion, and holding them captive against their will. Abduction doesn’t have to involve the use of violent actions. When law enforcement is notified of a kidnapping victim, they will put out a missing person’s notice or an amber alert if it’s a child that was taken. 

Types of Kidnapping

  • Tiger Kidnapping: A kidnapper forces their victim to follow their directions and complete actions they want done. For example, forcing the victim to plant a bomb. 
  • Express Kidnapping: A kidnapper captures a victim and forces them to withdraw money from an ATM. This is usually non-violent, and occurs mostly in Africa and Latin America. 
  • Virtual Kidnapping: This kidnapping type may not involve actually kidnapping a person. A criminal may call or contact a person’s family and say they have kidnapped someone, demanding ransom. Often, the criminal will avoid providing proof they have a specific person held captive.
  • Ransom Kidnapping: A kidnapper takes a person captive in order to demand ransom from their loved ones or employer in exchange for the victim’s safety. 
  • Political Kidnapping: A kidnapper takes a political figure hostage in exchange for something of value to them. This could be exchanging for a specific prisoner, propaganda, or withdrawal of law enforcement or military troops. 

Why Do People Kidnap Others?

  • Due To Mental Illness

One of the most common causes someone kidnaps another is due to a mental illness they may have. Often, kidnappers are triggered to commit such a crime due to recent emotional distress, or past trauma such as sexual abuse. 

  • They Are In Need Of Money or Are Seeking A Certain Action To Be Taken 

As stated previously, many kidnappers hold wealthy or high profile victims in exchange for ransom money or for a certain action to be taken. If someone is in a dire financial situation or is looking to change the current political status, they may be motivated to kidnap someone. 

What Is The Penalty For Kidnapping? 

The penalties one is charged with for kidnapping depend on if it’s State, Federal, or International kidnapping. Kidnappers who are charged on the state level means that the kidnapping occurred in that state. For Federal charges, kidnappers can be charged with a felony and face 20+ years in prison. Those who commit international kidnapping are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  

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*This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.