Wild hair brain thought here that I'm not finding much on.

So the idea is this: there are international bounties for heinous individuals that multiple people may have an interest in capturing, be they the leaders of drug cartels, fugitive Nazis, terrorist leaders, or simply intelligence agents. I got to looking through the bounties and got to thinking that the prices offered for "information leading to the identification or location of any person" seemed a bit on the low side. I mean, Bin Laden's reward was only 25 million when he was killed, the US military alone pisses that away more than that on an hourly basis.

This got me to thinking, what if a group was able to capture someone who was internationally wanted and then... auctioned them off to the highest bidder?

I mean, on one hand, this could probably be regarded as human trafficking, but outside that... I have no idea.

Note: --This is assuming this group is able to maintain its anonymity and operations during the auction and transaction process without groups X, Y, or Z knocking down their door rather than get into a potential bidding war. --Also, for the sake of the argument, let's say it is someone of international renown that is just as wanted and famous as Bin Laden. --As a method of protecting themselves from attack the auction may be released.

  • Related: luxurylondon.co.uk/culture/entertainment/…
    – user35069
    Sep 9, 2021 at 18:34
  • Deliberately holding someone captive, without immediately handing the person over to the local authorities or calling them to come pick the person up, is likely to be a crime in practically every jurisdiction. Sep 9, 2021 at 18:58
  • 1
    Also related: history.com/.amp/this-day-in-history/eichmann-captured
    – user35069
    Sep 9, 2021 at 19:26
  • the line between international war & police actions and human trafficking is a thin one.
    – Tiger Guy
    Sep 9, 2021 at 21:10
  • @NateEldredge The link by RockApe that this is a moot point. Mossad illegally seized Eichmann, and the world went on.
    – paulj
    Sep 10, 2021 at 16:50

1 Answer 1


Upon failing to turn the individual over to lawful authorities, a private citizen would be guilty of kidnapping, because at that point their authority to make a citizen's arrest would terminate.

A sovereign government, in contrast, who has the individual in lawful custody, is probably free to do so, although it would be diplomatically harmful to do so.

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