In criminal law, kidnapping is the unlawful transportation, asportation and confinement of a person against their will. It can include tying someone up, gagging them, or stuffing them in a box. The asportation and abduction element is typically but not necessarily conducted by means of force or fear. That is, the perpetrator may use a weapon to force the victim into a vehicle, but it is still kidnapping if the victim is enticed to enter the vehicle willingly (e.g. in the belief that it is a taxicab).

K. J. Ståhlberg (in the center-right), the first President of the Republic of Finland, and his wife at the Helsinki Central Station after their kidnapping. In the middle of picture their daughter Elli Ståhlberg stands behind them.
El Malón, by Johann Moritz Rugendas (1802–1858), historic painting depicting kidnapping of a woman.

Kidnapping may be done to demand for ransom in exchange for releasing the victim, or for other illegal purposes. Kidnapping can be accompanied by bodily injury which elevates the crime to aggravated kidnapping.[1]

Kidnapping of a child is also known as child abduction, and these are sometimes separate legal categories.