the criminal act of taking a person away against their will using force, persuasion, or fraud.
Abduction is a criminal activity that involves taking away individuals by force or manipulation. While anyone can be abducted, the most popular forms of abductions involve children, where strangers and family members are the perpetrators.
In custody disputes between parents, abductions can occur if one parent feels entitled to more than visitation rights. The children are often abducted by the parents who would use them as bargaining chips. At other times, a parent can abduct a child and take them from the other parent to protect them from possible neglect or abuse.
When a stranger abducts a child, the motivations are often selfish, and the intention is to harm the victim. This form of abduction is less prevalent, but the effects are terrible since the child can be missing for unpredictable lengths of time.
Real World Example of Abduction
Abductions are highly publicized news stories, and whenever they are reported, they attract worry and concern from families and children who empathize with the victims. In the United States, one of the most shocking abductions happened in Cleveland, Ohio when a former bus driver abducted three young women.
Michelle Knight (21), Amanda Berry (16), and Gina DeJesus (14) were kidnapped, each after accepting a ride from Ariel Castro. Knight was the first to disappear on August 23, 2002, Berry on April 21, 2003, and DeJesus on April 2, 2004. During their 10-year-long abduction, Castro abused the girls, imprisoning them in his house where they were sexually assaulted.
While in captivity, Berry got pregnant and gave birth to a daughter. Knight was also impregnated several times. This strange, twisted case shows the damaging consequences of abduction. Though Castro was given a life sentence in prison, the girls lost valuable years of their lives and suffered untold trauma.
Types of Abductions
Parental abduction: This is when a parent takes, keeps, or hides a child from the other parent. During the abduction, the child’s rights are denied or limited. This type of abduction is the most common.
Stranger abduction: This is abduction perpetrated by people not known or recognized by the victim. When strangers abduct children, the result could include torture, murder, or (in rare cases) simply raising the child as their own.
Abduction vs. Kidnapping
Abduction and kidnapping are often confused, but there are a few key differences between them. Like abduction, kidnapping involves taking a person from their current location for the purpose of ransoming them for money or other benefits.
However, a kidnapping is differentiated from an abduction since the kidnapper often uses force and/or restraints to prevent the victim from getting free. Unlike in abductions, the kidnapper cares more about the gains that can be received from the ransom and will do almost anything to achieve their objectives. Some kidnappers send small body parts like fingers or toes to show the families of victims that failure to comply can be dangerous.
Another difference between the two occurs in court; there, the charges for kidnapping differ from abductions. Generally, abductions warrant less severe sentences compared to kidnappings, which can lead to lengthy prison sentences, especially if force was used.