The terms abduction and kidnapping are sometimes used interchangeably. At common law, kidnapping consisted of the forcible abduction or stealing or carrying away of a person from one’s own country to another. Kidnapping is the taking away of a person by force, threat, or deceit, with intent to cause him or her to be detained against his or her will. Kidnapping may be done for ransom or for political or other purposes. Abduction is the criminal taking away a person by persuasion, by fraud, or by open force or violence.
Although, abduction and kidnapping were considered separate and independent crimes, they are not always mutually exclusive. In fact, some state statutes have used the terms “abduct” and “abduction” in defining the offense of kidnapping. However, both the terms refer to the unlawful taking or detention of one person by another.
Abduction is the unlawful interference with a family relationship, such as the taking of a child from its parent, irrespective of whether the person abducted consents or not. Kidnapping is the taking or detention of a person against his or her will and without lawful authority.