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All Photographs by Markel Redondo

Kidnapping Central American migrants who cross Mexico on their way north is one of the latest rackets of organized-crime groups.

Men check a map at a shelter in Arriaga, Chiapas. Migrants crossing through Mexico on their way north now have to worry about the latest racket of Mexican-organized crime groups: kidnapping.

Neighbors and relatives mourn the husband of Marlene, center. He was killed in a brutal August 2010 attack by the criminal group Zetas.

Migrants deported from Mexico wait in line for food at the border between Honduras and Guatemala. The victims, almost always headed to the U.S., are targeted by gangs who often use them as ransom, forcibly recruit as workers, or sell them into the sex trade.

Migrants sleep next to the train tracks in Palenque, Chiapas.

A migrant rests on a train car in Palenque.

Yamileth, center, said she left Honduras due to spousal abuse. After weeks traveling from Honduras toward the U.S. she suffered an accident.

She lost her leg in the accident, while trying to catch a train in Lecheria, Mexico, on her way from Honduras to the U.S.

Migrants riding on a northbound train receive food from residents of La Patrona, a small nearby village.

Women from La Patrona have for more than a decade provided food and water to migrants as they pass through the town on northbound trains.

People cross the Suchiate River on a raft. Many migrants cross this river, which separates Guatemala and Mexico, on their way to the U.S.

A migrant exercises at a shelter in Chiapas. An estimated 500,000 migrants from Central America cross Mexico every year.

A migrant prays at a church in Altar, near the U.S.-Mexican border.

A migrant sleeps on a train in Ixtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Jose Castro, from Honduras, walks across the ‘arrocera’ in Chiapas, an area where migrants are often robbed and attacked by criminals. Just this year, more than 4,000 immigrants have been rescued by Mexican security forces from their captors.

All Photographs by Markel Redondo

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Their homelands are torn by war, economic distress, political strife, or environmental collapse. They choose to leave, or have no choice. They're called migrants, refugees, or internally displaced people. The labels are inadequate as often circumstances could allow all three descriptions, or some combination of them. Once in their new countries, they face difficult transitions, discrimination, or outright hostility. Host countries are burdened with the economic and political repercussions of the arrivals, while home nations are sometimes saddled with a "brain drain" of their most important human resources. Immigration is a hot-button issue in the American presidential race, and a wave of new arrivals from Libya to Italy has left the European Union struggling with decisions over the Schengen policy of borderless travel between member nations. Gathered here are images of some of the estimated 214 million people worldwide in the process of redefining what "home" means to them. -- Lane Turner (47 photos total)
Rescuers help people in the sea after a boat carrying some 250 migrants crashed into rocks as they tried to enter the port of Pantelleria, an island off the southern coast of Italy, on April 13. Italy is struggling to cope with a mass influx of immigrants from north Africa, many of whom risk their lives by sailing across the often stormy Meditteranean in makeshift vessels. (Francesco Malavolta/AFP/Getty Images)

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