July 29: Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on August 6 will launch his latest law-and-order campaign, this one aimed at curbing human-trafficking syndicates.

Thaksin’s deputies have told representatives of foreign-aid agencies that the drive against traffickers will be given a level of priority equal to last year’s controversial anti-narcotics campaign, which resulted in the deaths of around 2,500 drug suspects, according to a tally by Thailand’s independent National Human-Rights Commission.

Bangkok-based human-migration experts say that the new campaign will be run from a new national human-trafficking centre to be managed by the Thai police.

The move, it appears, comes in response to United States diplomatic pressure.

The U.S. earlier this year placed Thailand on a special watch list of countries that Washington perceived were not doing enough to curb human trafficking.

Thailand has long been considered a regional human-trafficking hub, particularly in women from poor neighbouring countries being brought into Thailand’s massive prostitution industry.