Gatineau police are continuing their investigation into whether 13 women who were working at nine illegal massage parlours busted in police raids Wednesday are illegal immigrants.

Police said the raids came after a two-month investigation involving Gatineau and Ottawa police, as well as Canada Border Services which was called in to help identify the suspects.

"We arrested 17 people, 13 women and four men, all aged between 30 and 40 years old," said Const. Isabelle Poirier of the Gatineau police.

She could not answer whether the suspects are Canadian citizens or illegal immigrants.

Several homes targeted

Several of the massage parlours targeted in Wednesday's raids were located on Saint-Joseph Boulevard. The others were on Clarence and H�ron streets.

One Gatineau resident living next door to one of the bawdy houses told CTV Ottawa he knew something was not right.

"The owner of the house, he rented the place to somebody else and then that's when they start to get new people, in and out during the day and at night," said Gary Graveline.

One man and two women have been charged with keeping and being found in a common bawdy house and possession of stolen property. The others are expected to appear in court at a later date.

Illegal massage parlours not uncommon

Gatineau police told CTV Ottawa Thursday such sex trade operations aren't uncommon. Advocates also said the industry may be more widespread than people think.

"We have street level prostitution here, we have massage parlours," said Chris Bruckert, an advocate who works on behalf of street workers. "You can count the number of women or men who are standing on the street corners but other than that, it's a very hidden industry."

In the meantime, residents told CTV Ottawa they hope more busts will be made in the near future.

"I'm a family man and I got young kids and I feel better they cleaned the place up yesterday and I hope they continue to clean up," said Graveline.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Vanessa Lee