Kidnapping has occurred for many centuries; it is the act of unlawfully abducting someone and holding them against their will, often in an undisclosed location.

Hostage International primarily supports families and former hostages who have been affected by a kidnapping for financial gain, a political concession or ideological motive. Kidnapping occurs for other reasons as well, including family disputes, and as a result of illegal activity such as drug dealing and inter-gang rivalry.