KIDNAPPING (from kid, a slang term for a child, and nap or nab, to steal), originally the stealing and carrying away of children and others to serve as servants or labourers in the American plantations; it was defined by Blackstone as the forcible abduction or stealing away of a man, woman or child from their own country and sending them into another. The difference between kidnapping, abduction (q.v.) and false imprisonment is not very great; indeed, kidnapping may be said to be a form of assault and false imprisonment, aggravated by the carrying of the person to some other place. The term is, however, more commonly applied in England to the offence of taking away children from the possession of their parents. By the Offences against the Person Act 1861, " whosoever shall unlawfully, by force or fraud, lead or take away or decoy or entice away or detain any child under the age of fourteen years with intent to deprive any parent, guardian or other person having the lawful care or charge of such child of the possession of such child, or with intent to steal any article upon or about the person of such child, to whomsoever such article may belong, and whosoever shall with any such intent receive or harbour any such child, etc.," shall be guilty of felony, and is liable to penal servitude for not more than seven years, or to imprisonment for any term not more than two years with or without hard labour. The abduction or unlawfully taking away an unmarried girl under sixteen out of the possession and against the will of her father or mother, or any other person having the lawful care or charge of her, is a misdemeanour under the same act. The term is used in much the same sense in the United States.
The kidnapping or forcible taking away of persons to serve at sea is treated under IMPRESSMENT.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)