POLICE have arrested a woman believed to have been in charge of an illegal brothel operating in Ballarat.
The 44-year-old was arrested at a house in Braybrook yesterday afternoon, after police earlier raided a Wendouree home.
Police say the brothel has operated out of the Howitt Street property for at least the past three months.
Yesterday, members from Ballarat's Divisional Response Unit executed an evidence warrant at the unassuming weatherboard house, then moved in on the Braybrook property later in the day.
No sex workers were found inside the Howitt Street property.
Heavy-set blinds were pulled down tight over the windows yesterday, as junk mail spilled into the untrimmed front yard.
The house is positioned just a block from schools, churches and sporting grounds.
The Braybrook woman was charged with living off the earnings of a sex worker.
She was bailed and will appear at the Ballarat Magistrates Court in July.
Police said the investigation had been running for several weeks after a tip-off from a member of the public.
There was no confirmation of illegal immigrants working at the Ballarat brothel, which advertised "Thai massage" in local media with "friendly service".
None of these advertisements made any reference to any sort of sexual service.
The Wendouree house contained several massage tables when police executed the warrant yesterday.
The raids come after sex worker Ke Zhu appeared at the Bendigo Magistrates Court charged with doing business at an illegal brothel.
On May 21, the court heard Zhu had worked at the Bendigo brothel, and another in Ballarat, since April 16.
It was stated a Braybrook woman collected Zhu from the airport and gave her accommodation in the Ballarat brothel.
It was also revealed the Braybrook woman contacted a man, Peter Chung, to ask him to manage the Bendigo brothel in exchange for money.
Chung and Zhu were fined $3000 and $1000 respectively.