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Thousands Of Life Vests Left Behind Show Scale Of Migration

Bradley Secker looks at life vests left behind by migrants at a crossing point in Greece.

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Thousands of refugees have landed on the shores of the Greek island of Lesbos, this year, leaving behind a life of conflict in the hope of something better in Europe.

Almost everyone leaves a trace of their arrival. Photographer Bradley Secker was struck by the piles of life vests that littered the beaches where he spent a week documenting migrants and refugees arriving by boat in October.

The inflatable boats used in crossings are perilous, and the quality of the life vests varies. Many are mass-produced in Turkey and often defective. More than one sinks in the water.

The vests are left behind upon landing, or tied to trees to signal a safe landing point. Each discarded vest serves as a marker of a person willing to make the dangerous crossing, and a symbol to those arriving of what was left behind and what is yet to come as thousands continue to travel into Europe.

Kate Bubacz is a Senior Photo Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Kate Bubacz at kate.bubacz@buzzfeed.com.

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