Kidnapping began as a crime which involved forcibly abducting someone and carrying him or her to a different country. Today, kidnapping occurs when someone forcibly abducts or confines another person against his or her will.
Children occupy a special place in the law. Legal systems presume that children do not have the mental capacity to care for themselves or make their own choices. Instead, many of the choices a child has are often made by the child's parent, legal guardian, or custodian.
Parents or guardians who care for minor children have a legal responsibility to protect the children and ensure they are not exposed to harm. When such an adult deserts or abandons a child, that behavior is often a crime. Even though child abandonment and desertion laws differ significantly among states, all states have laws that criminalize this type of behavior.
Currently, parents in all states have a limited right to spank their children. Whether by statute or by legal opinion, states permit parents to use physical discipline against their children as long as it is done in moderation and does not cause injury.
Though specific teen sexting laws are not present in a majority of states, the trend appears to be towards more widespread adoption of sexting laws. In the meantime, in those states without sexting laws, sexting may still be punished under pre-existing laws that target child pornography.
Child enticement is a crime that involves an adult persuading, or attempting to persuade, a child to accompany him or her for the purposes of sexual activity. The type of situations that can lead to child enticement charges differs from state to state.
Someone who has sex with a person under a certain age, even when the two people are close in age, and even when both people are under a certain age, can be charged with a crime in some states, even when the sex is consensual.