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Home > Screenings > CBC & Radio-Canada Distribution > Surviving the Block

Producer: Yap Films

Genres: Documentary


96 min

SURVIVING THE BLOCK investigates the gripping true crime story of transgender sex worker, Moka Dawkins, and her fight for justice.

In 2015, Moka Dawkins meets up with a client, but their encounter turns deadly when Moka is stabbed in the face. She fights back and calls the police, but it’s Moka who leaves in handcuffs facing murder charges. As the film retells the story of that horrible night, and Moka’s subsequent trial and prison sentence, it showcases the violence and injustices that disproportionately affect transgender women of colour, especially those who engage in sex work as a means of survival. Interviews with activists from the LGBTQ+ community outline the harsh realties that trans sex workers face on a daily basis, while lawyers, doctors and police highlight the flaws and biases inherent in the criminal justice system.

SURVIVING THE BLOCK follows Moka as she’s released from prison in 2019 and her reintegration into the community that fought for justice on her behalf. Moka also recounts and revisits the events of the night that landed her in a men’s prison for over four years and the lasting emotional effect that the death of her client, a man she considered a friend, has had on her.