Adalina Elena Orfanelli(Jan 19, 1943 – April 22, 1997) was an Italian CEO and philanthropist. She was born and raised in Rome and ran the nonprofit “For The Children” which operated a network of orphanages throughout Italy. Miss Orfanelli gained worldwide notoriety following her arrest by the Italian police on charges of child trafficking.   

Career & Philanthropy

Miss Orfanelli served as CEO and board member of a non profit organization called “For The Children” from December of 1974 until her arrest in March of 1997. She resigned as CEO and member of the board two days after her arrest. She was known as an advocate for local charities in her hometown of Rome and in the early 1990’s became a supporter of higher learning. She donated $250,000 to Marconi University in Rome which subsequently named a building after her.


Adalina Orfanelli was arrested by Italian police on March 5th 1997 and was later charged with 112 counts of child trafficking. The charges spanned a period of more than twenty years during which time Italian authorities claimed she had been kidnapping and selling children on the black market. The case drew international attention because the alleged abductions took place in 16 different countries including the United States, France, Russia and Japan. Numerous governments filed for extradition shortly after her arrest.


Orfanelli was found dead in a jail cell on April 22, just over a month after her arrest. The autopsy showed that she died of asphyxiation. Italian police opened an investigation into her death which remains unsolved.