In a nationwide effort to prevent malicious practices by host clubs, the police have issued more than 200 administrative penalties on such establishments for various violations, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

The issue of young women, some girls as young as 18, racking up large debts at host clubs has been a problem for several years, with many of them ultimately ending up in the prostitution industry to repay their debts.

According to the NPA, a total of 729 host clubs in 33 prefectures — out of 1,000 host clubs nationwide — were raided from November to December in accordance with laws regulating adult entertainment businesses. The agency had issued a notice to prefectural police in November to encourage crackdowns, it said.