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New hot spots are developing all the time in regions around the world. In parts of Asia, North Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and the United States, criminal gangs, political turmoil and other threats are creating uncertain and hostile environments. Fast-changing conditions mean that regions can shift unexpectedly from secure to unsafe. 

Some of these myriad risks can be seen in parts of Latin America. In 2011, nearly a quarter of all kidnappings worldwide were carried out in Latin America, with places such as Mexico, Venezuela and Guatemala ranking in the Top 10 globally, according to data from global-risk consultancy Control Risk.

The criminal model is also evolving, giving rise to “express kidnappings” in which people working, studying or volunteering in foreign countries are held for a day or two and forced to withdraw the maximum amount of cash allowable from their ATMs. The kidnappers don’t ask for a ransom, but the victim is often harmed physically and traumatized psychologically before being released.

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